The halfway point of Ted Lasso season 3 sees most of the show’s main characters explore the city of Amsterdam for one strange and magical evening. It’s a night of turning points, a night where everything changes – hopefully for the better. Read on for our discussion of Ted Lasso season 3, episode 6, ‘Sunflowers.’
Ted Lasso has always had Amsterdam to thank, in some ways, for its existence. It was in this city that the creators Jason Sudeikis, Brendan Hunt and Joe Kelly first fell in love with the sport of soccer while working at the English-language improv club Boom Chicago, and the show’s tribute to the city, highly anticipated since the on-location filming was spotted in April 2022, does not disappoint.
The bumper sized episode, clocking in at an hour and 3 minutes long, takes place after friendly match, where Richmond have suffered steep loss to Ajax, and follows various characters on their individual paths as they each discover what it is they need to move forward. For Rebecca, a fall into a canal leads her into the extremely gezellig comfort of a nearby houseboat, where her host is a nameless mystery man who proceeds to entirely disarm her with his generous, if blunt, hospitality, and relatable life philosophies. She chooses to stay for dinner, and then the night, and although nothing physical happens between them aside from a goodbye kiss, the chemistry between the pair is the hottest ever seen on Ted Lasso.
Seeing Rebecca this warm, happy and free is a true joy. Something healed within her on that boat, and whether this man is her true endgame romance, or whether he’s just a wonderful person who came along at the right time to set Rebecca on a new path with an open heart remains to be seen, but despite not knowing who he is, we have a strong feeling this isn’t the last we’ll see of him.
With Keeley off to see Jack, Roy takes out his bad mood about her new relationship on Jamie, by forcing his protege away from the party his team mates are planning and instead putting him through his paces. Jamie, totally aware that Roy needs this from him, and with his own Amsterdam-related demons to outrun, goes along with his mentor cheerfully, and quickly takes control of their time together as he shows Roy around the city and teaches him to ride a bike.
The pair, whose inevitable close friendship has been practically promised by the show ever since Jamie hopefully asked about it during season 1’s “For The Children,” find a new level of camaraderie, intimacy and affection as they see the sights, and Roy’s vulnerability about his dead grandfather and Jamie’s story about his father dragging him to the Red Light district truly takes their relationship to the next level of trust and true friendship.
Will’s experience in the Red Light district is rather different from Jamie’s horror story, but then again, he’s attending with Ted Lasso’s best dad, jazz aficionado Leslie Higgins. With that kind of gentle support guiding you, it’s easy to explore one’s curiosity, and we learn that for a character like Will, an unexpected threesome is a wholesome tourist experience worth phoning one’s mum about.
With no curfew on them for the evening, team captain Isaac is firm in his belief that the struggling Richmond players must be united on their recreational plans, and the group ends up wasting hours in ridiculously amusing debate on the matter before settling on the show’s long-promised pillow fight. But Jamie’s not the only Greyhound absent from the team antics. Citing illness, Colin sneaks out to find a gay bar, feeling a desire to be among his people for once in a place he’s maybe a little less likely to be recognised. However, he’s got someone from home hot on his tail – Trent Crimm, who’s been aware of Colin’s predicament for months, finally shares the fact that he’s also a member of the queer community, and the pair find a new friendship and support network in one another as they drink together on the steps of the famous Homomonument and talk about Colin’s predicament as a closeted professional footballer.
And for Ted, this night means wandering around Amsterdam all alone with a head full of “tea.” After he allows Beard to feed him magic mushrooms in order to give him a bit of a reset, Ted spends the evening by himself, thinking about his past, present and future. As he visits the Van Gogh museum, where the image of the sunflowers and a chat about Vincent’s passion bring him to tears, and an American sports bar that offers him a taste of home, he finally discovers a form of football that makes sense to him. Catch up with our Ted Lasso conversation reviews so far and read on for our in-depth conversation about ‘Sunflowers.’
‘Ted Lasso’ season 3, episode 6 review in conversation
Natalie: Well, it’s finally here, in all its 63 minutes of chaotic glory. The first question is, did it live up to the hype?
Megan: I’m going with yes, for me. I loved every second of it, and the number of times I ugly-laughed out loud were too many to count. There were some arcs I might have liked more time on, but in general I loved it.
Natalie: I think that more critical minds would say it could have used a cut. Like you could argue that it didn’t NEED the team pillow fight or the Higgins and Will stuff. However, I am perfectly happy to indulge it.
Megan: If I had to cut something to make more room for the bits I was more emotionally invested in, it would probably be those scenes, but I still loved seeing them, so maybe it should have just been two hours instead of one?
Natalie: This was the special episode that you know, the whole crew was super excited for, so it doesn’t surprise me that they wrote it like a true ensemble piece with everyone getting their chance to shine. It isn’t exactly tight, but the hardcore Ted Lasso fans are always happy to spend time with the various characters, so seeing more team bonding, more Will, all that kind of stuff… I’m thinking there’s something for everyone. Unless you’re really invested in Nate or Keeley as individuals with zero interest in any other characters.
Megan: Even with Keeley I enjoyed getting a glimpse of her, and knowing how she’d be spending the time. We’d obviously been spoiled for some individual moments because of filming rumours, but I loved finally seeing why and how some of those moments came about after so long spent speculating.
Natalie: I am ready to forgive them the fallacy of a mid-season club friendly, because the night out, the splitting up, makes more sense this way than if it were a planned team bonding trip or a training camp where they have a set schedule and a curfew. I wonder if the friendly was set up specifically for Zava, when they still had him. This was one of his former clubs, so maybe it was a Zava PR thing and they still went and did it.
Megan: Oh that would make a lot of sense actually! Especially given all the Zava references in the opening scene. Okay, I’ll allow that.
Natalie: I think that must be it, the way Rebecca talks to the Dutch woman from Ajax – ‘You’ve been more than gracious, especially considering the circumstances.’ As in, “We booked this as a Zava thing but he’s not here.” Gotta be it. The post-match scene with the press line is mainly to set up Roy’s mood, but seeing Jan in his natural habitat is a real treat.
Megan: Yes! His line about their spirits already being broken was probably my first ugly laugh of the episode. I feel like the rest of Richmond are going to understand Jan so much better after this trip. Jan LOVED Roy’s reply.
Natalie: Yeah, the Dutch attitude from people in the episode was very fun. It’s obviously paying homage to the time the creators spent there, and cultural differences are a fairly big part of the episode actually, in both Ted and Rebecca’s stories in their own way.
Megan: That’s true, although Ted’s made me wince a lot, while Rebecca’s made me swoon.
Natalie: As for the interview – the fact that Roy is doing press for Keeley’s sake while she throws back a cheerful thank you as she literally runs away happily to join Jack in Norway? Wince or swoon?
Megan: Both. Wincing for Roy, especially after Rebecca’s savage little burn, but swooning for Keeley. I’d like to be swept away to see the Northern Lights on a whim.
Natalie: I wasn’t expecting to see Keeley in this episode in any significant way, so I was actually a little surprised that she was there, but glad.
Megan: Same. She wasn’t really involved in the plot – her story is still keeping her separate from Richmond – but I was glad to check in and hear that for now things are still good with Jack.
Natalie: We don’t know how long it’s been since the last episode, but how did you feel about learning that Keeley seems to be open about dating Jack, to Rebecca at least? Like, we know that the aftermath of the office sex wasn’t “Oh my God, this is a huge mistake.” They seem to be moving forward happily.
Megan: Yeah, I liked that. I still think it’ll be Roy and Keeley at the end, but I’m glad that for now she’s still having fun. I also enjoyed that both here, and later with Roy’s comment, her being bi isn’t seen as a big deal revelation to those closest to her. They clearly all knew, like we did, and so her having a girlfriend right now is no big deal.
Natalie: Yeah, I mean the impact of her dating someone new is a big part of Roy’s issues, but not that it’s a woman. Roy and Jamie both definitely knew she was bi. No shock, no surprise, no lewd comments from Jamie, which he might have possibly made otherwise because he is not actually as perfect as he is in my brain.
Megan: He’s quite perfect, but not that perfect.
Natalie: I think he’s great with women to be fair, not gross, but if this was new information to him he’d have said SOMETHING. They both acted the same as if Roy had said she’s got a new boyfriend. They knew. Loved that.
Natalie: How far in advance does one usually know about the predicted quality of the Northern Lights? Why didn’t Keeley tell Rebecca about this plan before the match? Is it plausible Jack just texted her like “hey we have to go right now?” Or is it more plausible that Keeley knew all along but doesn’t know how to break bad news? Because that does seem like Keeley, to be honest.
Megan: Sometimes you know, but often you just get random alerts. Source: I live somewhere that can have decent Northern Lights activity, but you don’t get much warning, just an alert on your phone and then you have to decide if you can be fucked to drive to a low lit area to try and see them. However if it’s supposed to be a really good night for it, you would probably have more advance warning, so maybe Keeley was just putting it off.
Natalie: Keeley seems really excited by being courted like this, and Rebecca does not seem to have expressed any concerns about the boss/investor thing. Like, this is being framed as a positive, romantic relationship.
Megan: She doesn’t seem remotely concerned, so I will continue to enjoy it too.
Natalie: Roy’s remotely concerned. You finally got your moment of Rebecca scolding him.
Megan: I did! I liked how it happened too. Because I don’t think Rebecca is out here fully hating Roy, but I do think she’s frustrated by him, and protective of Keeley. This was a nice little dig.
Natalie: That phrasing – “Somewhere that believes they deserve her.” Rebecca can read Roy like a book. Or maybe this is stuff that was said in the break up we never saw, the non-Phoebe version, that Keeley cried to Rebecca about.
Megan: I was going to say! Keeley might not know why he broke up with her, but Rebecca has his number.
Natalie: We don’t know if Keeley knows or not. It could be that she knows, but tried to convince him he WAS good enough for her and he was just like “NO.” All in all, I do think they’ll get back together as well, but what a weird conversation. “Hello Keeley. I still love you and I finally believe that I am good enough for you and am allowed to have you. Still keen?” I’m extremely interested in Jamie being the person to tell Roy all the reasons why Roy is amazing, and worthy, though. If that were to theoretically be how this goes.
Megan: And also all the ways he is good for Keeley, because at this point Jamie will know both of them pretty well.
Natalie: Yeah, I do think he’s fundamental to them getting back together. And they should reward him richly for his efforts. Lots of “positive reinforcement.”
Megan: He does respond well to that.
Natalie: I mean even this episode, the first major thread – because this episode is a series of disconnected stories, it’s a “Tales of Ba Sing Sae” situation – is Roy immediately taking out his moodiness on Jamie and pulling him away from the team to basically boss around. This is a totally unfair, tragic, amazing, affectionate, hilarious, complicated thing for him to have done. Because look. They’ve just played a match! Jamie should not be training after a match. But Roy wants his comfort blanket, which is apparently Jamie.
Megan: This is so stupid of Roy, but fuck, I loved it.
Natalie: This whole training thing is like – we have to admit – very unrealistic. All they do is extra cardio. No skills, no study. Just running, fitness. Jamie is already fit, this isn’t his issue. Maybe Roy thinks he needs discipline and endurance. But this is not a good representation of “specialised coaching.” It’s just here to show “training” in an easy to understand way. Running miles around the city straight after a match is SUCH bad recovery, lol. But I will forgive them.
Megan: I do feel like they have chosen to show an entertaining version of it, and Jamie and Roy sitting around studying tactics is something the writers don’t think will be interesting to people. They are wrong though! I would love it!
Natalie: Especially reviewing video. I would LOVE it.
Megan: Would I watch an episode of them watching TV? Absolutely. Would everyone love it? Possibly not.
Natalie: And obviously more skills stuff. I want Roy to take him to the urban pitch! Where he took Isaac! There’s still time though. Maybe.
Megan: I would like for Roy to take Jamie to a place that means something to him – for Jamie to have earned that. Maybe after this episode they’ll be close enough for that to happen. For now I’ll just have to assume their training isn’t entirely Roy running Jamie ragged. Jamie’s resigned little “right” after Roy grabs his bag is very funny. Nobody on the team seems remotely surprised to hear that Jamie and Roy are going to be spending their time in Amsterdam training, so you have to assume by now they all know that Roy and Jamie have been working together. I would love to know what they all thought about this.
Natalie: I honestly think today’s session wasn’t planned, but it does sound like they are “out” to the team. If they’re not, they must be really “what the fuck” about it. What a way to reveal it.
Megan: Roy likes to keep everyone on their toes.
Natalie: Jamie’s compliance is hilarious. He was keen for the team hang-out!
Megan: Jamie does take it all in good humour, but poor lad, missing out on all the fun.
Natalie: But he likes Roy time too.
Megan: It’s true. That’s fun in a different way.
Natalie: Even if Roy is a LOT of work as a friend.
Megan: He’s a lot of work, full stop.
Natalie: I think people who are Hard Work really need friends who blithely ignore that element of their personality. The Blithe Ignorers are true heroes. Ted’s good for Roy in that way, but Jamie’s probably even better.
Megan: Jamie is more on his level more generally. He understands some of what’s behind Roy’s Hard Work personality.
Natalie: He’s the target of Roy’s drama so much, but he just doesn’t let it change how he acts. And this episode really is the peak for that. I cannot WAIT to see what they look like after this. Because the fact of the matter is, they leave the bus together before 5pm, right? Like, it’s early afternoon, the team plans to meet at 5pm, but Roy and Jamie are off already. They don’t get back to the bus until 10am. We get to spend maybe 20 minutes with them in the episode, maybe a little less. 15 minutes of footage, maybe, out of what is realistically, for them, 17 hours, because unlike everyone else aside from Rebecca, they come back to the bus having not gone to the hotel. If those 17 hours have not dramatically changed the course of their relationship from here on out, the show doesn’t know what it is doing.
Megan: I really hope that when we see them next episode, their dynamic feels tangibly different. It’s what I wanted for them after “Man City” and didn’t get, I think because they still had other barriers between them then. But after 17 hours riding bikes around Amsterdam, they have to have changed. But I would like a blow by blow account of how they spent those 17 hours. I’m sure Brett has it all mapped out in his brain. I would like him to share it. You have to imagine, for instance, that during that time they stopped and got some food? Do they have a nap in a bus stop at around 5am when they’re exhausted? How badly do they smell when they get back on the bus?
Natalie: I wonder if they talked a lot, or just hung out in silence. I wonder if they talked more about Jamie’s dad, for example, after the windmill sighting. If we are meant to assume an amount of forward movement that is just that a next level established closeness, rather than seeing them ever talk about the Wembley thing on screen. I can’t imagine the Ted Lasso writers reverting Roy back to thinking the worst of Jamie after this, not in the way he has before.
Megan: No, same.
Natalie: If he still has those knee jerk aggro moments, well, I am sure Jamie is long used to them honestly. They’ve been training for months. The bike scene shows that Jamie’s unphased by them, but I would love for Roy to stop having them. And it’s more than 17 hours, really, if the guys are meant to meet at 5pm. Maybe more like 18, 19 hours. 18 sounds good.
Megan: 18 Hours In Amsterdam. I’d watch that movie.
Natalie: Yeah, so I hope there isn’t regression, even though I think they’ll always be spicy with each other.
Megan: I don’t mind the random very stupid aggro moments – like cycling after Jamie on the bike – where it’s clearly very silly and Jamie just finds it funny. I would probably prefer less verbal threats of violence. But I do think Jamie also finds Roy’s spiciness funny by now.
Natalie: I think I understand stuff not changing after “Man City.” It’d be hard for them to talk about. But I do imagine that between that day and the season 2 finale, they’d have been better (off-screen,) but then Roy gets upset because of the Keeley thing. I said in our season 2 reflection that I think part of why Roy is upset is that Jamie put a hurdle between them when they were getting better. But they weren’t spending lots of time together then or anything. Now… Jamie is the person Roy is spending the MOST time with, and he has been for several months.
Megan: Yeah I think you’re right. After “Man City” both of them probably felt awkward in different ways, and so I can imagine they just didn’t talk about it, and then the Keeley stuff meant they backslid a bit.
Natalie: But they’re best friends now! Jamie knows it, Roy possibly doesn’t.
Megan: Oh Roy.
Natalie: I hope that after tonight he knows it a little bit. And that Jamie keeps on him about it, if he’s being dumb.
Megan: I think he has to now. Even Roy isn’t that dense.
Natalie: Roy has a lot to learn from Jamie, about life and how to actually live it. And I loved that this episode gave Jamie the upper hand in looking after Roy.
Megan: Yeah, in some ways they had a similar childhood, both at a football academy, growing up living and breathing football, but Jamie clearly just had way more of a normal outlook on life than Roy.
Natalie: Yeah, despite his own issues Jamie is fundamentally a happy person. And he isn’t trapped in a prison inside his own mind.
Megan: No, he’s very open and honest about his feelings, and I think he’s good at knowing what he wants and then going out and doing it. And thinking that he deserves to be happy.
Natalie: I really love the way that Ted Lasso maintains a balance between them. It’s absolutely not a one-way power dynamic, the coach-player thing, and it never has been. They’re all over the place with each other. But Jamie has more emotional maturity in a lot of ways, and I love that the writers keep making sure Roy knows it.
Megan: Jamie swapping between calling him “coach” and “Roy” depending on the situation is great. This training session is not going the way Roy expected though. I think he thought he’d be torturing Jamie, but instead he’s being tormented with endless Amsterdam facts.
Natalie: Even when he gets off the bus, Jamie is trying so hard like “You all have fun! We’re gonna see the sights!” Roy did not agree to sightseeing. Too bad for him.
Megan: He’s going to see some sights, whether he likes it or not.
Natalie: I wish I hadn’t known about the cartwheel, or round-off, rather, in advance, but it was better than I dreamed. Jamie’s so aggressively cheerful about doing all this with Roy, touristing them through Amsterdam, not taking Roy’s grumpiness seriously. This is really fun, but it’s also more than fun, because someone like Roy is known for being, you know, miserable. Right now his emotional state is particularly bad and he’s a bit of a drain. He’s Big Bad Roy Kent and he’s in a Mood. And Jamie is like, “I’m having fun with you! I like your company!” Treating someone like Roy as if he’s not hard to spend time with, as if it’s fun to be around him…That’s impactful to people like that. I know because I am people like that. Jamie not treating him like he’s a miserable fucker while he’s being a miserable fucker is one of the best things he could ever do for Roy. And sure, they could just shut up and run and Jamie could just do what Roy says, but no, Jamie is going to make it nicer, and more fun. He just ignores Roy’s growls and objections.
Megan: Yeah, Jamie has decided that actually, spending 18 hours in Amsterdam with Roy Fucking Kent is the kind of thing he would never have imagined being possible when younger, or even when he first came to Richmond. He loves spending time with Roy, he is determined to enjoy it – especially given his own mixed history with the city – and he is going to do his best to make sure Roy enjoys it too. And no matter how gruff or sweary Roy gets, Jamie just ignores it. I wonder how much of that is intentional. Like, does Jamie know that his relentless approach is actually the best way to handle Roy? Is he doing this because he knows Roy by now, and knows he has to be forced out of his bad moods? Or is this just Jamie being Jamie and deciding to enjoy himself for his own reasons, disregarding Roy’s feelings in a way, and dragging Roy along for the ride? I do think it’s a lot of the former even though the latter is obviously the thing he later apologises for. I think Jamie understands Roy, and that he also really likes Roy and wants him to have a good time, and he knows that with Roy the best way to do that is to just push and push until he has fun despite himself. But I also think it takes someone like Jamie to be able to do that. Because not everyone is able to cope with someone like Roy, so if Jamie wasn’t so confident and happy in himself it would have gone a very different way. The cartwheel…man, I knew it was going to happen. I could not have imagined the context. I would have liked it to have been a surprise, but it was so great either way. Phil and Brett clearly had the BEST time filming this.
Natalie: I really can’t wait to hear them talk about it. Phil did an interview already teasing it and said it was the best time he’s ever had on Ted Lasso and that for some portion of it they were just left to mess around in whatever way they saw fit. I suspect it was the bridge or the bike riding. The bike riding lesson, the dialogue sounded a bit more ad-libby, but it involves stunts, so I’m not sure they would have let them just make that stuff up. But I bet we’ll hear about it. Jamie is being extra today, and he has a reason for it, but I’m wondering if, in the past however many weeks, Jamie’s been goofing around and playing with Roy to an extent during training too, like doing stupid little faces, saying silly things, or if he’s more focused and obedient. But the training today definitely wasn’t planned, Roy decided on a whim that he just needed to squeeze Jamie’s spirit like a stress ball. So maybe, because he knows that Roy is just kind of needing the outlet, he knows this isn’t “real training” and he’s happy to take it less seriously.
Megan: Either way, he refused to let his spirit be squeezed.
Natalie: And – we’ll get into this later – I think he’s trying to create his own new good memories of the city. With his best friend.
Megan: Yeah, I think he and Roy are both in a bit of a weird place in this episode, and both responding to it in different ways. Roy is obviously being his usual Grumpelstiltskin self, and Jamie is being even more chipper than he has been this season. I think it’s mostly genuine, but definitely a bit of “I am going to have a good time, and so is Roy, if it’s the last thing either of us do.”
Natalie: Good for him honestly. I really appreciate the show leaning into this relationship, because it’s so funny, and they are very lucky to have actors who can pull off this shifting leadership element. Most of the friendships on Ted Lasso are not one-sided exactly, but it’s very sidekicky at times. Keeley isn’t a sidekick in and of herself, but with Rebecca she’s rarely the power player in the conversation. Sometimes she calls Rebecca out, but it’s never Rebecca following Keeley around, you know? Ted and Beard have a private equality, but they are very much coach and assistant and it’s one of those things where Ted is the power player to the world, but Beard is the one backing him up and arming him with what he needs. These two are just a mess, taking turns at playing “follow the leader,” – always, emotionally, and here, very literally. And it’s the best. Roy and Jamie really push each other, teach each other, respond to each other as peers outside of any sort of normal “coach and player” dynamic and it is extremely good for both of them and I need them to hug again soon.
Megan: Lots of touching this episode, but no full-on embrace.
Natalie: But the shot of the laneway with them both crossing screen, like not tracking the actors, just letting them run in and out of frame? Very good. Very funny. I’m going to assume Roy hasn’t always had to keep up with Jamie in their trainings, he mainly gets to watch. Because he is unsurprisingly struggs here. I wish we knew more about how they felt about Roy’s career-ender. Because it was NOT Jamie’s fault, but they’d both feel weird about it. Like they know how it goes, they know there is no actual right to put blame on it. But it must be very weird. I wonder if they’re meant to have ever talked about it. And if not, will tonight be the night, during those 18 hours?
Megan: I think Jamie would feel weirder than Roy. Roy knew it was coming, and he was the one who made the choice to run and tackle Jamie, so outside of general “this sucks that I can’t play anymore” angst, I suspect Roy wouldn’t really associate Jamie with it. Jamie on the other hand would know it wasn’t his fault, and it was just the game, but given his hero worship of Roy when younger I think he’d probably feel guilt anyway.
Natalie: Roy loves to hate on Jamie for things that aren’t his fault, though, so I think he’s had some irrational thoughts. But he would know it would not be okay to express them.
Megan: Yeah I think this is one he would never say out loud. I also wonder if Roy’s knee is a bit better right now? Like obviously he is struggling, but he’s doing a lot of work on it this episode. In season 2 he’d still be fairly newly out of rehab, and it’d be weaker, plus I bet in his depression he didn’t do as much work on it as he should have. I could see it being a bit stronger by now, but he’s still not finding it easy.
Natalie: I honestly have no idea what’s realistic for injuries like this and how much strain they can take.
Megan: Neither, and Ted Lasso itself is very back and forth about it. In one scene you have Roy carrying Keeley up the stairs, in another you have Ted saying everyone but Roy has to run to the bus.
Natalie: So yeah, I don’t think he usually spends hours running with Jamie, just watching him. They might do light runs, obviously they jog away from Jamie’s house together, but it also shows Roy sitting. Whereas here, they’ve been jogging for like, three hours already. Maybe stopping and walking for periods, but obviously Roy’s knee gives up eventually. Long before Jamie runs out of his many facts to share.
Megan: I just LOVE it. Obviously we find out later why he knows so much, but I was definitely watching at this point like, “Why does he know so much about Amsterdam? What is going on?” And Roy is obviously so confused, and possibly would love to murder Jamie if he could only catch up.
Natalie: To be honest, that’s a lot to have retained since he was 17. Maybe he did read up before the trip, or maybe he just has a good memory for trivia. I am very much in line with Jamie here in terms of being shocked Roy hasn’t been to Amsterdam. What Londoner hasn’t been to Amsterdam? It’s a nothing commute. I feel like everyone I know in the UK has been there many times. I went multiple times when living in the UK too. Once on an EasyJet flight. It wasn’t diverted as far as I remember. But I have been on ones that were. Due to the airline being pricks, not a passenger.
Megan: Roy never having been there is yet another sign of how, I don’t know, sad and football-obsessed his life has been. I know football is important to him, to all of the team, but he really is someone who I don’t think ever thought about what life would look like without it, and probably didn’t ever bother having much of a life outside of it. I really loved the moment where Roy grabs Jamie by the wrist and pleads with him to stop. There’s the tiniest little smirk on Jamie’s face like he maybe knows he’s won this round.
Natalie: I mean all Jamie’s points are valid reasons why even a footballer might go! And we get onscreen confirmation that Roy played for England – you would have to be a fool to assume he didn’t, with everything implied about his career, but now it’s there in words. I cannot imagine Roy at a friend’s stag do though. I feel like a stag do would be his idea of a nightmare.
Megan: He would be the worst. But he would also have to acknowledge someone was his friend, so maybe it’s never come up.
Natalie: With Jamie’s plane story, given that it wasn’t actually Amsterdam that incident happened in, do you think that is a real story for somewhere else, or a fabrication he made up, to try to make Roy react? Jamie isn’t really a “make up stories” guy, so I have to assume he’s using that example as a reason someone would be in a city, like maybe that happened to him in Brussels, or Rome. He sounds very proud of himself for being that much of a terror though, and I do not like to think of him being awful to service staff, because we know he isn’t like that even when he was being a prick to the team. So maybe I want to think he made it up. Or maybe he was fighting with another passenger.
Megan: I was about to ask what kind of thing you think Jamie would have done to cause a plane to be diverted! I don’t think he’d be a prick to service staff… Maybe he got caught trying to join the mile high club.
Natalie: If they had to divert a plane any time THAT happened, no flights would ever go!
Megan: Well, it depends on how good people are at not getting caught. It is the kind of story Roy would react to though. He does love to call Jamie a prick. So maybe it was another attempt from Jamie to get Roy to have fun.
Natalie: Ted Lasso is sometimes so specific about its British references and sometimes so willing to flout British culture. But EasyJet truly is the great equaliser. Have you ever noticed, some locations in Europe, it’s like even if you’re rich, there are no other options? It’s EasyJet or a charter plane. And Jamie, a few years ago, probably wasn’t charter plane rich, or wouldn’t be bothered. Footballers do fly it sometimes, there are news stories lol. Very funny photo of your man Eric Dier on an EasyJet to Marrakech a few years ago.
Megan: Footballers: they’re just like us. Eric’s a good boy though, and quite political in his way. I think he’d feel guilty about his carbon footprint if he got a charter plane. But yeah, if you’re rich, but not private plane rich, sometimes EasyJet is the only way to go!
Natalie: Anyway, I cannot begin to imagine what Jamie did to get a plane diverted and why, but he seems very proud of himself.
Megan: Hopefully that’s another story he told Roy in full during their 18 hours together.
Natalie: I love this man’s commitment to his man. The second Roy says he doesn’t believe in windmills, Jamie is like “I will FIND YOU a fucking WINDMILL.” Of course, you could take that as a challenge, an attempt to prove Roy wrong, but I didn’t read it like that at all. It felt like something he was doing for Roy.
Megan: He will commit petty theft so Roy can get to see a windmill. He will do that for Roy. Well, more like he’ll be an accessory to petty theft.
Natalie: I also don’t think Amsterdam is a fake Disney city. Rome is the fakest city I’ve been to. It feels truly not real.
Megan: Annecy in France is also ridiculous. Amsterdam is fine? Pretty in the way most old European cities are, but it’s not the most.
Natalie: Amsterdam is extremely normal. And sorry Richard, better than Paris. My favourite European city is Copenhagen, though. They should go there. Anyway, Jamie mentioning Roy playing internationals made me put on the Jamie Tartt England call up tin hat. Manifesting.
Megan: Please. Now Zava’s gone Jamie needs a new goal to push for. Yes, getting Richmond out of their slump has to be part of it, but an England callup would be best.
Natalie: Just because it’s my civic duty to ask – did you notice they ran Jamie’s theme over that whole scene of Roy grabbing Jamie’s arm to ask for a rest? When they talk about EasyJet and windmills being fake? Extreme “Leaving the Studio” usage there.
Megan: I did not!
Natalie: Such feelings are afoot. Yeah, and they use the end strains of it later in a more serious bit.
Megan: I will listen out for it.
Natalie: But here they use the start, which is done up all twinkly. Jamie is obviously trying to feel twinkly. He looks like he could not be happier to be hanging around Roy’s grumpy arse, trying to prove windmills are real. “I ain’t even from here and I’m offended.” He’s so stupidly pleased. I don’t think we’ve ever seen Jamie smiling for this long. It’s quite overwhelming. He’s obviously happy, grinning and stuff on the pitch a few times in season 2, but not just like this, in the day to day.
Megan: And his determined face when he declares they need bikes. I do feel like, with their money, they could just hop into a taxi and get the driver to find them a windmill. But when in Amsterdam…
Natalie: Megan, THERE ARE FREE COMMUNITY BIKES IN AMSTERDAM. They could have got bikes FOR FREE.
Megan: Oh my god. Jamie. You know everything about Amsterdam, but not about the free bikes?
Natalie: This reminded me so much of the claymation Missing Christmas Mustache video. Hearing Jamie tried to help by smashing some stranger’s windscreen with a rock. The bikes maybe only used to be free and now aren’t any longer? But they definitely have a Boris Bike sitch at the very least.
Megan: They could have rented them for less than 100 euros.
Natalie: There are absolutely bikes available for less than 100 euros, yes. Honestly it makes it funnier to me. I’m not taking it as a continuity error, I’m taking it as Jamie’s ridiculous decision making.
Megan: Just Jamie being Jamie. Look he definitely, as a youth, probably indulged in the odd bit of petty crime. Definitely some underage tinnies in the park. This all feels very in character to me.
Natalie: Yeah, honestly, this is very on brand for his whole background and vibe. Such a lad. It is insanely charming.
Megan: His little “Psst” from round the corner when Roy jogs to catch up. He’s deranged, I love him. But if I was Roy, I would also slightly want to strangle him.
Natalie: Like I’ve said, we haven’t seen him acting this happy and light, and he only gets happier when he steals the bikes. He is so fucking tenacious. Nothing Roy does can knock him down. He is determined to make this night amazing for them.
Megan: He is going to have The Best Night Ever, and Roy will enjoy it too if it’s the last thing Jamie does.
Natalie: He made Roy smile one time back in season 1 and he has been chasing that high ever since, TBH. This episode is all about turning points for most of the lead characters – this is The Night Everything Changes. Of course these two were going to keep growing their relationship, and the way this is done is so lovely. They’ve undeniably turned a corner, but I can’t stop thinking about where do we go from here? Is Roy now going to seek out Jamie’s company? Defend him to other people? It really feels like it’s setting up things to make the audience want to see, like, a display of love from Roy to Jamie.
Megan: Yeah, at this point it’s very clear to us all how much Jamie loves Roy. We also know that Roy at least has a respect and admiration for Jamie’s skills, and has softened towards him as a person. Definitely in episode 3, the way he watched Jamie throughout, you could see his mindset changing, but it’s definitely not as obvious from Roy as it is from Jamie.
Natalie: Jamie is reaching out and reaching out, and while we get a lot of understanding and camaraderie, it feels like what we need next is some moment where Roy proves he cares about Jamie to the world.
Megan: It’s definitely the next level of emotional payout I’d want to see.
Natalie: What I’d really like is if Jamie starts just sticking to him like glue and Roy allows it, like how affectionate Jamie is with the team, for him to just follow Roy around like that trying to cuddle him, LOL.
Megan: Yes! I’d love to see Jamie hanging off of Roy’s shoulder like he does Sam’s.
Natalie: But what I also really want is to see an outside perspective on this. Like the team knows something is going on, and I need to know what everyone thinks about it. Because Roy is publicly showing massive favouritism to Jamie. The others may not want the special treatment Jamie is getting, but it isn’t as if it’s a punishment to Jamie, it’s extra attention.
Megan: Outside perspective wise, I think the team is one element of it, but I’d also love to see Keeley’s perspective of it, given how linked she is to both of them.
Natalie: I’m more interested in the club perspective to be honest. Keeley has nothing to do with the football of it. What I want is for the team to be like ” Roy and Jamie are being weird about each other again.”
Megan: Yeah, that’s fair, their responses would come from two different places. We got a bit of that when Jamie and Roy got off the coach – Ted and Beard were very entertained at least. But if things change really noticeably after Amsterdam, I’d love to see the reaction to that from the team.
Natalie: What I’m after is Roy yelling at everyone to leave him and Jamie alone, like, the public display of their Oddness.
Megan: Jamie would absolutely love people noticing. I think he’d love being seen as Roy’s favourite.
Natalie: I would put the Keeley reaction somewhere else. It’s important but not for the reason I’m talking about, which is the narrative need for Roy to do something that acknowledges Jamie to the community that their friction caused issues in before. I have NO idea what. But yeah, I imagine Jamie is so proud.
Megan: He would be very smug about it. He’s also very smug and proud when his friend the bike thief shows up with the first bike.
Natalie: Honestly, this is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me personally. Just getting to watch this. So he has all the rights to be smug. In terms of Keeley – I obviously do think it is crucial that she knows this, it’s just not the thrust of what I want Roy to do, re: telling the world he likes Jamie. For Keeley, it’s going to be more about how Jamie is the person who coaxes Roy into letting himself be happy, and eventually, letting him be happy with her. Jamie is so deeply embedded into their relationship that it is insane to me that he wouldn’t be a part of it. It makes more sense for him to be with them than not at this point, because Jamie rubbing off on Roy is a very good thing. Jamie being so expressive makes Roy try to be more expressive, even if it’s just through a challenge, “Got to match that prick or keep up with him.” Roy really pushed through here, explaining why he can’t ride a bike, even if he had to do all his processing out loud and can only inspect his behaviour as he verbalises it.
Megan: I really wasn’t expecting this level of emotion from a scene of Jamie teaching Roy to ride a bike. It’s another one of the things I was a bit spoiled for from filming accounts, and I just could not imagine why it would be happening. But Roy telling that story felt HUGE from him. He really is someone that processes things in the moment, but it was just a really fucking sad story, followed by him admitting that he’s taking his sadness and anger out on Jamie undeservedly. This whole arc of Roy and Jamie is on the surface very farcical and ridiculous, but there’s so much simmering underneath and this moment took me from laughing hysterically to just being a bit sad. And then Jamie’s very sincere “for Grandad” at the end of it finished me off.
Natalie: Well, the sincerity of it plus the challenging smirk. The combo deal is really the best way to get under Roy’s skin. Jamie knows that if he challenges Roy to do something, Roy will rise to it. Like the juxtaposition of the earnestness and the button pushing. It was not lost on me the repeated “for Grandad” when this is what Jamie always called Roy himself. Jamie Tartt is braver than the marines for that. But yeah, I found it VERY important to see Roy be that open to Jamie about his feelings and verbalise it all, including admitting he was taking out his mood on Jamie unfairly. Which Jamie already knew. He should not have to be Roy’s punching bag, but he’s willing to and I think that’s very sexy of him. Sometimes we just need someone who will put up with our bullshit. It’s unfair, but that’s life. At this point I don’t think there is much Jamie wouldn’t do for Roy.
Megan: The thing I like about how Jamie handles this is the way his refusal to acknowledge Roy’s bad attitude leaves Roy looking like the silly one. Actually it’s a bit of a throwback to Keeley’s advice in season 2 about agreeing with him to take the anger wind out of his brat sails. Jamie’s approach of just ignoring Roy’s outbursts has the same effect.
Natalie: I think when someone brings up being angsty about a dead person, the right thing to do is shut up and listen, so I really, really liked the part where Roy’s like “Can you stop being a dick about this, this is why,” and Jamie is good about it. But it also made me wonder how much of that Jamie knew already. I mean he’s a Roy Kent superfan, he would know about his academy. But unless he was lurking outside the door the whole time, Jamie was not in the room when Roy did the blankie curse fire speech. I could believe he was lurking, but Roy doesn’t know he knows that. So this could be like a first time information thing between them.
Megan: If Roy was a more emotionally open man, you could imagine him giving some sort of interview about the impact his grandfather had on his life, and Jamie reading that interview. But I’m not sure that Roy Kent would ever talk about something like that to the press. So to Roy, opening up to Jamie about this would feel like a pretty big deal. For both of them.
Natalie: I mean we got another one of Roy’s extra special “Jamie’s right, and possibly a lot smarter than me” fuuucks, but I think Roy is so lonely and has gone back to holding everything in rather than being around someone who lets his feelings out a bit. It’s so interesting that Keeley and Jamie both help him in that way. What could it mean? I just don’t know.
Megan: Who can say.
Natalie: Not me, that’s for sure.
Megan: If you’d told Roy in season 1 that one day his best friend would be Jamie Tartt, he would laugh in your face. But here we are.
Natalie: We knew it all along, even if he didn’t. His stag do (Amsterdam optional) once he proposes to Keeley, is going to be him, Jamie, Trent, Beard, and the yoga mums. Very normal crowd.
Megan: They can start the day with a bike tour – though Jamie will have to teach Trent how to ride one first too.
Natalie: He is somewhat skilled in this area, apparently. Here’s my question. Did they have to use the song? The song makes it one hundred times funnier.
Megan: It’s so ridiculous, I cannot stop laughing the whole way through. “Put your feet on the pedals.” “Don’t pick it up in an angry way, man. ” I do not know how anybody on set got through this scene in one piece, physically or emotionally.
Natalie: This is the part that really feels like they just told them to make it up, the lines from Phil especially. But I feel like they can’t have, because of the stunts. But my god it’s funny.
Megan: Maybe they were told the general actions – those were choreographed – but they were allowed to have fun with the actual dialogue.
Natalie: Do you have to be great at riding a bike to fake being this unstable? I assume yes.
Megan: Either way it’s fucking brilliant.
Natalie: Look, Jamie has always been a bit Alexis Rose-coded anyway, but this was giving “the pedals make it move more!” The first shot of Jamie holding him by the hips and the immediate tilt sideways together, is… so… fucking funny, but Jamie’s attitude is just incredibly sweet. He’s so nice. The constant encouragement, like “And we’re straight back up.” He’s trying to be so soothing and supportive and gentle. His sheer kindness, treating Roy basically like a little kid, combined with skipping out of reach when Roy growls or lunges at him. Which, like, as we’ve said, Roy really needs to stop that, or Ted Lasso needs to stop making him violent as a joke, but Jamie is SO unbothered.
Megan: “You did it for two seconds man, that’s an improvement!”
Natalie: I think my fave has to be between Roy being like “I can’t turn the other way, I can’t turn the other way.” And Jamie, when Roy throws the bike, being like “How’s that gonna help anyone?”
Megan: Yes! Both standout moments in a standout scene of the entirety of Ted Lasso.
Natalie: Honestly, Jamie is SO GOOD for him. Roy would never, for example, throw a bike at a girl. He does not act like this with women. But most men he acts out towards either ignore him or cower. And he’s Roy Fucking Kent. His reputation precedes him. Someone being like “Stop being silly,” – another man being like “This is stupid, stop it,” that is extremely good for Roy to hear. Jamie needs to follow Roy around forever and be like “Really?” every time Roy does something stupid like that.
Megan: It’s very healthy and necessary for Roy and eventually might shame and embarrass him into calming down just a little bit. But Jamie would be very happy to follow Roy around forever.
Natalie: Love wins. I really like how it’s navigated for them, because it’s a bit fraught on paper. Putting up with someone’s bad mood and being their outlet can be a really traumatic thing, and you can imagine Jamie’s dad being like that in a sinister way. I think that’s a really interesting parallel with his father. Not to go around calling Roy a father figure to Jamie, because, gross, no, they need to kiss, but Roy is this “angry man” who has really acted in ways that could be threatening to Jamie, right? But we’ve talked about this a ton, Roy’s aggression and Jamie not really being worried about it. In this episode, it’s acknowledged that Jamie knows Roy is taking out his bad moods on him, that he has been for a while, and Jamie has been willing to put up with it. So when saying Jamie is good for Roy, praising his resilience in not being bothered by Roy’s behaviour, that idea has to come with the important side note that quite often, shouldering an erratic person’s moods or accepting being treated like an emotional punching bag like this is a really, really common trauma response to people who have been abused. It could have been something he’s dealt with before, with James, you know? This COULD be seen as unhealthy or detrimental. But I really don’t think it is, because Jamie putting up with Roy isn’t about Jamie trying to “not set Roy off.” He calls him out on it! Jamie has basically chosen Roy as his person, he knows he can handle Roy and stand up for himself, and he would never draw parallels between Roy and his dad, even if the audience might.
Megan: If anything, I think Jamie has experienced that actual darkness from his dad, where the rage and anger comes with a real threat, and because of that, he knows that Roy’s isn’t the same. That with Roy, it’s just an act to cover up all his other emotions, and that Roy would never actually hurt Jamie or anyone on the team. So I actually think his experience with his dad is why he knows that Roy is actually safe. And I also think one of the things he’ll have learnt with his dad is how not to needle, how not to set people off. But he needles at Roy all the time! Even back in season 1 when there is real antagonism between them, he doesn’t hold back from pushing his buttons. He didn’t care about upsetting him. Of course, he still had this idea of Roy in his head from his childhood that probably influenced how Jamie viewed him and reacted to him too, but right from the start with Roy and Jamie, Jamie has never held back. And I think, with his dad being the way he is, that he would have had more self preservation if he ever felt any real threat from Roy.
Natalie: I doubt James ever acted as blatantly violent as how Roy acts, saying “I’ll fucking kill you,” and stuff. He’s probably a lot more sinister and Jamie probably appreciates Roy having a cleaner, more overblown form of anger. He’s all bark and no bite, and Jamie knows it. It’s not similar to James at all. It’s a “safe” anger. Even if Jamie was disappointed by meeting Roy, I can imagine he had an outsized level of trust for him due to his hero worship. He’d know all about his hard man reputation, and have seen his anger on the pitch. He could needle him and know he’s safe, because Jamie’s mental coding for Roy, before they ever met, is admiration, some form of love. If he’s never scared of Roy, it’s maybe because he knew Roy from afar, there was a parasocial relationship there. Some level of “Roy Kent would never hurt me,” maybe even “Roy Kent would save me.” I bet we’re going to see that poster on his wall when we see his childhood bedroom. Honestly, I think it’s a bit like that poem, “if one day you find that there is no angry man in your house— well, you will go find one and invite him in!” There’s something that may draw Jamie to that kind of energy, but in a format he feels like he can handle. Dealing with angry men is what he knows, and there’s something about him being so drawn to Roy, despite Roy’s anger and threats, that it feels like Jamie finding or choosing a safe version of what he expects all men to be like. Testing the theory, experiencing anger that isn’t actually harmful, to prove to himself that anger is just an emotion, it’s not always like his abuse. That at least Roy is upfront with his anger as soon as he feels it. Roy’s anger is honest, he gets it all out and he doesn’t pretend. So Jamie knows that Roy isn’t secretly more angry, or sinister, or planning worse. Jamie’s seen how bad it can get and knows he can handle Roy at his worst, growling and threats that he would never follow through on. That might feel a lot safer than a pleasant person who Jamie is always just waiting on to finally snap, like how upset he got by Ted shouting at him in season 1. And the fact is, Roy does know about Jamie’s issues, and he isn’t a horrible person, he’s a great person. But he doesn’t hold back or control his temper around Jamie. And we haven’t always loved that, he’s been unfair, but he isn’t “careful” around him and I think it means he knows that Jamie can take it fine, that he KNOWS that it isn’t going to trigger Jamie, that Jamie wouldn’t want him to be fake nice, which Roy CAN do. He can control himself if needed. But there’s an understanding between them that they don’t have to be anything other than themselves, and no matter how far they push each other, nothing genuinely bad will ever happen between them, and that makes them both feel safe and kind of… free. To be the worst versions of themselves, maybe, and still accepted and supported by the other.
Megan: God, the thought of Jamie choosing a safe version of an angry man is a depressing one, and it definitely speaks to why he was so mistrustful of Ted when he first arrived, because he couldn’t trust that level of constant kindness. It would have left Jamie on edge around him, so the shouting might have made Jamie feel on a more even footing. Before that blow-up, he was probably waiting for the mask to shatter, so when it did, it left him being able to put Ted in the kind of context Jamie expects. It gave him proof, maybe even vindication, that this guy isn’t as nice as he acts. Where Roy is concerned though, I do think that both us as the audience, and the characters within Ted Lasso, are able to see through Roy’s anger. Half the time his aggression is so obviously performative – children like it when he growls at them! Even they know it’s a bit! We also know he’s protective of the team, and I bet the team sees that too. I imagine as a player he was always the type who would be the first one to run and get between his teammate and an opposition player who was being aggressive. And the moment where he walked off Sky would have gone viral – the team would have watched that speech and felt that sense of protectiveness Roy has over younger players. I think that also played a part in why, even before Jamie and Roy had their moment at Wembley and their moment at the end of the Brentford match, Jamie was always comfortable squaring up to Roy when Roy’s shouting at him. He knows the Roy Kent mythology and he trusts that he’s decent.
Natalie: And Jamie doesn’t have any qualms taking control of Roy, either, or bossing him around. Becoming the parental figure for the evening, really! Jamie was very patient, he met Roy exactly where he was, he let Roy tire himself out in terms of being annoyed at Jamie for pushing, and he got him to the point where he felt confident in it and happy about that fact. Roy’s pivot from “I’ll fucking kill you” to “I’m doing it!” was so great. Jamie’s a good teacher with a very difficult student. Maybe when Roy is 50 and Jamie is 35, he’ll be the assistant coach wherever Roy is managing.
Megan: Ohhhh, there’s a flashforward spin-off I’d watch. I feel like he could be great with academy kids too.
Natalie: Yeah, I think he would be an incredible children’s coach. And Roy has definitely been acting like a child, so. But Jamie is truly having the time of his life. I’m imagining him telling his mum, who would have known about his early admiration of Roy, all about this. In fact, I bet she’s the one who taught Jamie to ride a bike. Her or some older kids on the estate, maybe. Either way, the way Jamie handled this lesson is so sweet and loving and you know this is by FAR the opposite of the way his dad would have done it. If he does have a baby, like in my crazy theory, he has nothing to worry about in terms of turning out like his father. What he was channelling in that scene – that’s either all him, or it came from GOOD role models. So yeah, telling his mum about teaching Roy Kent to ride a bike the way she maybe taught him is just such a happy thought.
Megan: Yeah. And even outside his mum, who is obviously a really important person in his life – he will have had so many other good positive influences and examples of what good teaching looks like. While City may be Richmond’s white whale when it comes to beating them, they’re not actually portrayed as an evil entity, so we can assume that Jamie was around good coaches from a young age, right up to Pep Guardiola himself. That detail, combined with the fact that he has such genuine self-confidence and innate goodness make it clear that while, yes, he has had trauma, there’s also been a lot of positivity in his life. He channels that here when teaching Roy, and I think that’s why he manages to turn things around so quickly in season 2 as well. And then there’s Roy, letting himself be vulnerable and be taught, albeit grudgingly. His euphoric “let’s go find a fucking windmill” is…I mean it’s hilarious. But it’s also just… I’m so proud of him, you know? He learnt to ride a bike, but more importantly he’s letting himself have fun and go on a nice adventure with his new best friend Jamie Tartt.
Natalie: Honestly, Roy being willing to be that exposed in front of Jamie – falling over, failing, looking weak? Letting Jamie look after him, be gentle with him? That’s extraordinary, for him. Once again, if they backpedal them after this episode, I will lose my shit. Not in a fun way. I am not interested in any more conflict between them now. They can and should bicker, but no more big hurdles.
Megan: No. They can’t do that from here. It would take one of them doing something really shitty to create conflict and I don’t want that.
Natalie: I really want Ted Lasso to address how much Roy means to Jamie, like, have a moment of Roy… being aware of it, I guess. Owning the fact he has a responsibility to Jamie, to look after Jamie’s feelings about him. Because I think at a point, after learning more about Jamie, after seeing his dad, Roy has to have realised that even when Jamie was being the worst to Roy, he had a level of faith that Roy would not hurt him. Because even when he hated him, he trusted him, because the trust came from that celebrity hero-worship form of love, whether that faith in Roy was warranted or reasonable or not. Maybe Roy’s the one not living up to Jamie’s faith in him, you know? And I feel like everyone has to know how much Jamie hangs off Roy’s every word, it isn’t subtle. But I have no idea how Roy feels about it. I want to find out.
Megan: Agreed. He’s putting a LOT of time and energy into Jamie, so you have to assume he cares and that this isn’t just about helping Richmond as a team be stronger. It has to be about Jamie specifically too, but I really want to actually hear Roy verbalise it. Not least because Jamie is SO desperate for approval. He’s so eager and practically vibrating with enthusiasm and doing everything Roy says. Roy was very grudging when he told Jamie he thought he was the best in 3.03, I’d like him to say something a bit more enthusiastic and a lot deeper about how well Jamie is doing, and why Roy is putting in the work.
Natalie: Yeah, I still want that “Why are you helping me” conversation. It gets kind of close here, when Jamie starts his quieter chat as they cycle through the country. He says, “I know you’ve got my best interests at heart, or the club’s anyway.” Like he isn’t sure if Roy is doing this to help Jamie as an individual or just for the sake of the club needing it, sharpening a tool for others to use. It isn’t the main part of the conversation, but Jamie is not 100% clear on how Roy feels about what they’re doing together.
Megan: It would be nice for Jamie to hear unequivocally that Roy cares about Jamie’s interests as an individual beyond the needs of the club. It would also be nice for me to hear that.
Natalie: I think it’ll happen in some way. Jamie clearly means a lot to Roy as a player. This isn’t just about Richmond, it’s about Roy putting his mark on the future of football via Jamie. Which is why I think the England call up would work so well. Because it’s a massive achievement for them to share that is about them. Not about the club. And he is starting to mean a lot to Roy as a person too.
Megan: It would be different if he was still at City, but at Richmond, with Ted as manager, there’s not really anyone else that would have that experience and knowledge.
Natalie: He has to tell Jamie he’s proud of him before the end, but it may literally kill Jamie.
Megan: Roy better time it well and not right before any important matches. Jamie’s been training so hard, if he dies before he can put it to good use it’ll be such a shame.
Natalie: Now, I for one don’t think Jamie has anything at all to apologise for, but apologise he does. He makes sure to still stand up for himself, says he knows Roy is upset and taking it out on him, but he’s still sorry for how he acted. And I didn’t see anything too wrong with how he acted from the outside, but I think that he knew within himself he was being pushy and too cheerful, maybe fake cheerful at times. Laughing off Roy’s concerns, a bit? He mocked him for not knowing about riding the bike, but he stopped when he heard why. But ultimately, I think he’s apologising for being obnoxious when Roy wasn’t feeling it.
Megan: There were some moments where I think Jamie was trying to get a rise out of Roy with his cheerfulness and continuous Amsterdam facts, but given Roy was literally torturing him, I think that’s fair. However if Jamie knows Roy was only doing that because he was upset, then maybe Jamie thinks an apology is necessary. I’m with you though, I don’t think it was needed!
Natalie: I don’t think his fun facts were dickish, but he uses his prior experiences in Amsterdam as the reason for his behaviour.
Natalie: So maybe he thinks he was acting like his dad, being antagonistic. That shadowboxing, the fake punching, is very James. It’s clearly a copied mannerism, though he keeps his punches several feet away unlike James basically making contact. A lot of people do that, though. It doesn’t mean Jamie is doing anything wrong just because his dad does it.
Megan: I suppose the petty theft also feels a bit James.
Natalie: I think, actually, for me, it might be this: It might be “Sorry, I was being really pushy and selfishly peppy. I was trying to have fun and make new good memories because I’m a bit triggered by being here. I didn’t respect that you were not feeling it, I was just really determined to make myself feel a little bit okay instead of going to a bad place in my head, and you got dragged into it.” Because we need to talk about these two stories with his parents, and how it fits in the timeline of Jamie’s life so far. It sounds to me like the way he described the trip with his mum was like trying to write over the memory of the time with his dad, but didn’t quite manage it. The way he says like, “Even though he wasn’t here, it felt like he was.” That did not, to me, feel like “Even though he wasn’t here, it was like we were all the family I wished we were.” It felt like “Even though he wasn’t here, it still felt bad, despite the niceness.” I am really wondering if his mum knew about the other time and was trying to make up for it, or if she had no idea that Jamie was troubled by the city. Like, were they trying to actively write over the trauma together, or was she in the dark, and he was suffering it alone?
Megan: Yeah I took it to mean like, the spectre of James and the first trip haunted the second. I was going to ask if you thought Jamie told his mum what happened the first time? I feel like if he’d told her everything about the first time she would have been furious, and also might have thought a trip back would be too triggering, rather than restorative. But maybe Jamie made it clear enough without telling the details that it had not been a great trip and that was enough for her to suggest a do-over. I am not a mother, but if I was and I found out my ex took our child to a prostitute in Amsterdam…I would possibly be too locked up in jail for murder to then take said child on a trip to Amsterdam.
Natalie: Listen. I don’t know if he told her or not, but this was a big reveal. Jamie having sex at 14, I would honestly not be too worried about in other cases. This is very normal for kids, at least in my experience. Obviously not a lot of TV shows are about 14 year olds having sex because it’s very young to show it, but it is realistic, and particularly realistic for certain parts of the UK. But that would be with other teenagers. I think it’s fine for teenagers to have sex that young if they are safe. I do not think it’s fine for that to be in this circumstance, with an adult prostitute paid for by your father. This is extremely bad and I hate it. It is apparently weirdly common, and it is also an extremely classic queer trope, like, soft boys that horrible dads are “worried about.” I was pretty shocked, honestly. What was your first response to this?
Megan: The second Jamie said his dad took him to Amsterdam my mind immediately went “No, he wouldn’t have…” about getting Jamie a prostitute. Like my mind went right to it, because it felt like a very James thing to do. And then it got confirmed and I hated that I was right. Up until that point, given what we see of Jamie and his confidence around sex and relationships, I never would have expected this kind of backstory for him.
Natalie: Yeah, to be honest, I really don’t like the idea of him for example liking older women, like Keeley, being a result of sex trauma. Until they say more about it, I am choosing to believe his relationship with sex now is mostly healthy.
Megan: Same, I think that’s what we’ve been shown so far.
Natalie: But I am glad Roy says immediately that must have been traumatic.
Megan: Yeah. It was a good response, he matched Jamie’s energy and didn’t freak out. I feel like internally he was probably furious – the way his face changes as he keeps looking over – but I like that he didn’t let it out here. I think anger on Jamie’s behalf would have been the wrong response for Jamie at this moment.
Natalie: And oh, Jamie, so serious! He thought Roy felt sorry for the prostitute. But the fact he then says no, that he doesn’t really remember it…I mean, that’s bad. That is verrrry bad, trauma wise, to have buried it. Unless he means James also got him drunk, which totally is possible. But that wasn’t said. So we will go off what was said.
Megan: If it’s not something he discussed with Dr Sharon before, I feel like after this trip he should call her up and be like “Oh hey, I forgot about this thing that happened, is it maybe something we should talk about?”
Natalie: Honestly the fact that Jamie is in therapy is really something that keeps me going. It’s also very apparent in the relationship between him and Roy, which person does therapy, LOL.
Megan: Hah. Yes. If Jamie can get Roy into therapy, everyone at Richmond will owe him.
Natalie: I have a feeling he told her a lot about his dad, just due to the way responds to his dad in “Man City.” It’s definitely conflict tactics from a therapist. And now that I’m saying that, I feel like he definitely did not tell Sharon about the prostitute, or his mum. Because the way he responds to Roy, it sounds like the concept of it being traumatic is a new and unknown perspective, whereas talking through that in therapy, or even with his mum, he’d know that it was really bad. He’d have been talked through the fact it was traumatic. I do think he knows it’s bad. The way he says it to Roy still sounds like he knows he’s admitting to something he knows is wrong. But not in a therapized way.
Megan: Yeah, I think the way he says “Er, no…dunno…don’t remember,” is interesting. It makes me think of the way he responds to Beard in episode 3 when he says “Don’t know” about him being ironic. He’s clearly thinking about it, but I think he’s chosen not to remember because he does not want to. He doesn’t want to have to think about it and what it might mean and how it might have affected his behaviour later on in life.
Natalie: There’s no version of him not remembering that’s healthy. Whether James got him drunk, whether he disassociated in the moment while it was happening, or whether he just let the past take it away, let time bury it, you know? Roy’s face when he keeps looking over – there’s a lot going on there. Jamie never looks at him, and it makes me think of what Brett always says about football, that it’s a way men can share and be open with each other while not looking at each other. “Men, traditionally aren’t great about looking each other in the eye and talking about their feelings,” Like, they can speak openly about big things while looking at something ahead, not the other person. But Roy does keep looking at him, and then looking back ahead more and more murderously, but when Jamie says he doesn’t remember, he WHIPS around. Like that’s his most “what the fuck” shocked moment.
Megan: Yeah. And actually Jamie normally isn’t bad at being open. Roy is the one who, any time he has to admit something vulnerable, talks like it’s being forcibly pulled from inside of him. Jamie is usually very open and upfront and will have that conversation easily. And he won’t look away or duck his head either. The funeral scene, the kit room scene in the season 2 finale, he stands there and faces Keeley and Roy. The fact that he doesn’t here is very telling. I think Roy knows it’s really not healthy for Jamie to say he doesn’t remember too. Like, he might not have the best grasp on his own mental health and way of dealing with trauma, but even he knows that’s bad from Jamie.
Natalie: Yeah, so what I’m really wondering… Is this story going somewhere? Could worrying about Jamie even be the thing that reconnects Roy and Keeley? Because for all I really hope that his everyday sexual confidence is real, we do have some past moments that look just awful in retrospect, like the time Roy and Keeley bonded over teasing him at the auction. Because he took it seriously when they told him he’d have to have sex with who bought him. Retroactively, that’s terrible.
Megan: It’s the kind of thing that I doubt Roy and Keeley have ever thought about since it happened, but if they do talk about this reveal, and remember it, it could feel really awful.
Natalie: And I honestly was on his side in that moment even without knowing this. It was mean, he had the right to be freaked out, even if it was a bit silly that he might take it seriously. But with this, especially if this is The Big Reveal that has been important all along, that moment could carry a lot of weight. It got me thinking that this information could almost nullify his break up with Keeley, which is kind of fascinating. Now this might not 100% track, because yeah, he never assumed he’d have to sleep with the buyer before the dinner, so it’s not why he brought Bex to the auction. But he only gets desperate for Keeley to win him after he feels the real threat of the old lady, right? That’s when he asks Keeley to be involved in the bidding when he had previously not planned for her to be. He’d just wanted Bex to drive up the bidding to make him look good. But getting Keeley to bid, it’s because he’s panicked. Doing so, especially with the Bex situation, makes Keeley feel stupid and embarrassed for bidding on her own boyfriend and Jamie does not exactly play it well, laughing at her being jealous. But if he begged her to do it because he was genuinely anxious about being “bought” and she didn’t know the truth as to why, that frames their break up differently, if Jamie was asking her to do that as someone safe, as a self preservation thing. She didn’t know, of course, and we don’t know if this actually IS a big plot or just a horrible little detail that would never be spoken about again. But what if she found out the truth of why he acted that way that night, and regrets not treating his fear more seriously? Maybe they never should have broken up, you know?
Megan: It’s hard, right, because him not apologising properly or acknowledging why Keeley would have felt shit is the reason she broke up with him. I don’t think she thinks that Jamie physically cheated on her with Bex either, but he did minimise her being upset and feeling embarrassed in a way that wasn’t great. But if he did panic because of this trauma, that’s a hard thing to tell someone at the best of times, but in a public place, when they’ve both drunk a fair bit and Jamie’s probably feeling a bit stressed there’s no easy way to say it. It would be a reason he wasn’t being his best self, an understandable one. I think Keeley is really valid to have been upset then, but Jamie is also really valid for not being able to go into detail at that time either. So I think the emotions and reasoning behind why Keeley broke up with him at that moment still stand, but if Jamie could have talked about it, yeah I think they might not have broken up.
Natalie: Ultimately they needed to break up to move forward, but I can imagine Keeley finding out about this and being like, “oh, shit.” Especially as she obviously still has feelings for him and also loves him as a friend. She’d probably being really sad that he couldn’t share with her. What a fucking mess.
Megan: Since she’s already having these little moments of realisation about Jamie, if she then finds out about this it’s really going to mess with her. That being said, I don’t think Roy would just tell her. Unprompted. So I’m not sure how she would find out.
Natalie: I think he might, actually. I have a feeling he might go to her about trying to help Jamie. Oh, one other thing. Lust Conquers All. Where does THAT fit for you? He did it to piss off James. He presumably had a lot of sex on camera. Healthy-slutty, or psychosexual compulsion? Maybe something in the middle, with him not attributing the proper kind of meaning or intimacy to sex? But honestly I don’t think sex has to have meaning to be healthy. The gala thing I feel very angsty about, but I’m not sure how I feel about this in terms of the reality show.
Megan: Yeah I’m leaning towards somewhere in the middle. That kind of trauma leaves its mark, that’s undeniable and I feel the same way about his reaction at the gala. But Lust Conquers All isn’t something he seems awkward about. On This Morning with Holly and Phil after he gets evicted, he seems very relaxed and good humoured, joking about being THE loser. He clearly likes women with a fairly wide age range and type, given we also know he hit on Moe’s mum Janet that one time. And in general, he is very comfortable with physical touch and affection, the way he hangs off the lads around the ground. I still think he is someone who is comfortable in himself and his body and the life he has generally, despite this horrific thing that his dad did. But it is a trauma, and an unresolved one, and there will be moments where it comes back to haunt him throughout his life.
Natalie: I’m worried that tapping into it now means he might have been sort of carelessly fine before, but that it’ll become an active problem because he’s facing it. And I think a lot of people would say him liking older women is a sign of the trauma, which I respectfully disagree with.
Megan: Same on both of these. If he’s refused to acknowledge it till now, it likely won’t have affected him, but if opens up that wound and starts to actually address it, it could lead to him actually having a negative reaction and being set back.
Natalie: A lot of things that might have first entered a person’s wiring from a bad origin don’t always end up universally bad. In this case like “seeing someone a fair bit older than me as attractive” is not actually something that needs to be fixed, whether it started because of the prostitute or not. But I really can’t tell how important the show thinks this reveal is. If this is The Big Jamie Plot, then all these moments from the past are highly coloured and they all have heaps of meaning. They’ll still retroactively have meaning now even if it was just in passing, but it just depends how the show is going to treat it. Jamie’s an extremely resilient person who has ultimately been able to stay true to himself and be quite open, despite some serious low points. He’s always seemed honest and in touch with himself. Never repressed, even with his dad. He seemed to know exactly what was going on with himself and it wasn’t about putting on a mask. The fact that there IS something he is repressing, it could be huge.
Megan: It would be a very difficult storyline to handle, and handle well, and we only have six episodes left. Even if they’re all as long as this one, that’s still not a lot of time to handle it with the sensitivity it deserves. That does make me worry it might just be a horrible little detail that’s never spoken about again, which will be… hard for me, to have this thrown out and never properly addressed.
Natalie: I am not sure how it might come up again, but yeah. But this does happen to a significant amount of people who never talk about it or claim to not feel that scarred by it. It’s clear Jamie is a bit scarred, but maybe this is just the show’s idea of “sharing a secret” and that’s it. Anyway, it was a fresh horror I wasn’t expecting, and it’s clear he doesn’t really want to go into any more detail, so he moves on to the second story. The way he talks about his mum is so cute, the cutest he’s ever been, and we now have a few details about the timeline of his life to make sense of the stuff with his dad too. What we knew before is that they split when Jamie was a baby and his dad started showing up again when Jamie got good at football. I always took this to mean when he heard Jamie got scouted for City, the team he also supports. I’d imagined it a bit older actually, like I couldn’t imagine James caring about the success of a 10 year old, but a 16 year old with hopes of a contract, access to clout, yeah. But 14 probably works. And then going with his mum “a couple” of years later, he also knew the The Fault In Our Stars bench and that film didn’t come out til June 2014, when he would have been 17. So he could have visited with his dad at almost 15 and with his mum at 17, that’s “a couple” of years.
Megan: I also got the impression too that James probably wasn’t around for very long at this point, when Jamie was 14. Like, Jamie says he was trying to get back together with his mum. So I could see it as he dipped back in for a hot minute now and then, including when he was 14, buggered off again when it didn’t work out with Jamie’s mum, and then showed up again a lot more a few years later when Jamie got the proper contract.
Natalie: It’s cute to me that Jamie said his mum took him rather than the other way round. Because he would have been making some football money then at 16 or 17. It’s more realistic that he paid – he took her. But he’s obviously such a mummy’s boy that he would not think of it that way.
Megan: Yes! I love the idea that he saved up his first probably less than impressive football wages and took her to Amsterdam.
Natalie: One thing I feel fairly sure of – and the show may prove me wrong, but for now – is that James was not someone who had custody of Jamie properly. If Jamie was a teenager, he may have chosen to visit him. But I don’t think guys who walk out on babies and show up again when they are 12, 13 or 14, just get granted joint custody after over a decade. Especially as I am 100% sure he never paid any money for Jamie’s care.
Megan: No, I agree with you completely on that. I also just don’t think James would ever have wanted custody. He just sees Jamie as something he can use, whether it’s to try and get close to Jamie’s mum, or to Man City. He would have no interest in spending time with Jamie for his own sake.
Natalie: We know that we are seeing Jamie’s childhood bedroom, and if that turns out to be at his dad’s place, I will not be thrilled with that implication. But some people think his mum is dead. I fully, fully disagree. For about a hundred reasons. But if they go that way… ugh.
Megan: We know from this episode she was around at least until he was 17. So if she is dead it would have to have been fairly recent, and I just don’t see that as being likely given everything we know and have been shown about Jamie so far.
Natalie: I really don’t think anything he’s ever said has implied she is dead, and I think he’s said things that directly imply the opposite (like talking about her in the first person, or saying he hadn’t dealt with dead people to explain his behaviour at the funeral, whereas Roy’s was explained by grief.) Some people out there really jumped to “she’s dead and he lived with James,” and I don’t know if that’s just an idea they prefer to up the angst or something but I do not see it. I am pretty sure they’ve implied she is alive, because Ted Lasso does know how to write people burdened by grief. and if Jamie lost his mum at 17, we would just have heard about it by now. It would be a very weird thing to keep secret. For the show, that is.
Megan: Even in this episode, if she was dead I think he would have spoken about her and the trip very differently. Especially since Roy had spoken about his dead grandad earlier in the evening.
Natalie: Yes! Anyway, all this is to say that after this episode, I feel pretty sure we might get to meet her?
Megan: It is one of my big wishes for this season, so I really hope so!
Natalie: Because yeah you are right, I think Jamie would relate back to Roy, like “I’m doing this for my dead Mum.” It would be a very weird plot twist to find out now he’s been keeping his dead mum a deep secret, among all the other things going on. But I love how much he cared about those nice memories even if he couldn’t shake the James shit. I also fucking love stroopwafel, and I had my first one there, too.
Megan: Yeah the fondness when he talks about his mum and the trip is just very lovely. It’s such a quiet and wistful scene, after all the earlier ridiculousness. Also I appreciated the context for why he knew all the Amsterdam facts.
Natalie: The way he talks about the sex thing… It’s very disturbing and vulnerable. He’s a grown man, he could casually say hooker. The way they have him sort of revert back to the language he may have used at the time, this very childish, innocent way of saying it, made it so much worse.
Megan: The choice of saying “the ladies in the window…” It feels like how he might have said it, or even how James might have. Like “Go on, go with the lady from the window” type vibe. Horrible.
Natalie: It is profoundly affecting, and I am really curious if this level of regression and trauma is like, the big plot he is getting for the rest of season 3, coming to terms with how fucked up some of these things were. Because there is no posturing to it, and like – this happens to guys. Like I said, I don’t think teenagers messing around with other teens is a problem as long as no one gets pregnant, I was exactly 15 and 1 hour when I first did with a guy, and a couple years younger with a girl. I am not scarred for life. It is fine. But this was not fine and I think he knows it. But it’s an issue for young teenage boys, being in sexual situations that maybe upset them, but the culture would have them brag about.
Megan: It’s one of those things where you’re supposed to pretend it was great and you enjoyed it, but clearly it was not.
Natalie: There are a lot of stories where this is a feature, I can think of a handful off the top of my head.
Megan: I immediately thought of Shameless when Jamie said it. Because in that show, Mickey, one of the major queer characters, is forced by his dad to have sex with a prostitute to prove that he isn’t gay. Given what you said about it being a classic queer trope, and given Jamie’s dad hated him being soft, there’s a world in which this was a similar case.
Natalie: Yeah, this is often used when the dad suspects the son is gay, or has caught him at it and wants to turn him. It does not have to be that, but it definitely is a big aspect of this “trope.” And it happens in real life. It could just be like “Eeeyyyyyy my boy.” But we KNOW James had issues with Jamie’s natural softness. Because that boy is, if not a marshmallow, at least a gummy sweet. Maybe a tangy one, but still squishy. And that does not mean queer, but it could absolutely mean James was concerned about the possibility of it. Also an awful trope of boys raised by single mothers, abandoned by fathers, fathers come back and are angry that the mum has made the son soft and gentle.
Megan: Yeah to a man like James, regardless of whether or not Jamie was actually queer, any hint or indication that a son of his was gay would be unacceptable to him.
Natalie: So. Do you think they’re just going to let this go as part of Jamie’s general drama? Or do you think this reveal was like, the point of this whole night together, and helping Jamie deal with things will be the big Roy and Keeley arc for the season?
Megan: I did have one awful thought about a future plot they could use it for. Namely, what if his dad does the same thing Dele’s dad did, and sells some horrible tell all to the papers – including the Amsterdam prostitute incident? And then of course it’s all over the papers and Jamie would have to deal with that culture where he is supposed to brag about it that you mentioned above.
Natalie: I’ve actually been wondering about his dad going to the tabloids anyway.
Megan: Yeah. If he’s no longer getting City perks from Jamie, maybe a tabloid payday would be tempting to him.
Natalie: We know he gets booed at the Etihad, and I am wondering if that’s not just because of Lust. If it’s because James did some sob story about his rich son neglecting him. Forgetting where he came from. Like if Jamie cut him off after the Wembley thing, talk about how awful Jamie is for you know, leaving his dear old dad. If James basically sells this idea of him being a nice old man who awful Jamie fucked over. This would not be close to unheard of.
Megan: Ooof. Fuck that would definitely be something that would a) feel realistic given the real life example of Dele, and b) be really awful for Jamie to handle.
Natalie: We’ve seen it before for people’s estranged family or ex-partners. Usually there is a very good reason for the estrangement and the people taking the paycheck for the story are deeply awful. God, we’ve seen how bad Roy is at interviews but is doing it “for Keeley.” What if that’s leading to him stepping up for Jamie and doing an interview about him and how good he is.
Megan: I just clasped at my face with my hands at the thought.
Natalie: Yeah, I’m just making myself excited and upset.
Megan: That would be a lot. I can’t even contemplate it, because it probably won’t happen, but gosh!
Natalie: After processing what Jamie has shared, Roy also apologises for his more harsh dickishness. His explanation for this mood is his suspicion that Keeley has a new girlfriend. And Jamie, because he knows Roy enough to know he doesn’t love talking things out the way he, Jamie, does, does not push on that and is just like… Well then. Let’s find the windmill. Do you think him not prying more about Keeley was the best move?
Megan: Yeah I think so. Roy has already been very vulnerable, maybe Jamie wants to give him a bit of a break before their next heartfelt conversation. They have so much time to fill, Jamie has to pace himself.
Natalie: Of course we don’t know if Roy opened up more in the course of the night – we don’t see many hours. Who knows how long they looked at windmills for, but I think Jamie has learnt pretty well to just wait for Roy to speak up. Like letting a cat come to you. The fact that it’s windmills also keeps itching in my brain, because yes, it’s Holland, it’s an icon of the country, but I cannot help thinking of Don Quixote, and the idiom “tilting at windmills.” The idea of fighting imaginary enemies, you know, a perceived threat that isn’t real, something you’ve built up in your head. Because Jamie and Roy, more than any other characters on Ted Lasso, have both made a habit of tilting at windmills, and often the perceived imaginary giant, the monster, is the other person. Jamie’s repeatedly been told “Stop battling people who just want to help you, not everyone in your life is out to get you.” Roy is basically ready to fight everything all the time and misunderstands many, many things. He certainly sees Jamie as a threat and an adversary for LONG after is reasonable – since he returned to Richmond as a coach.
Megan: Even when Jamie asks about the break-up Roy’s first response is to accuse Jamie of wanting to know if it’s okay to get back together with Keeley.
Natalie: So there was just something special for me there, the idea of them looking up at this windmill together peacefully, like “Yep. That’s a windmill. Just a windmill. It exists.” as a metaphor for seeing each other. Rather than continuing to fight the imaginary enemy. It’s a FANTASTIC symbol for them in that regard.
Megan: God. Their FACES when they look at the windmill, just awed by it, and then the way that they look at each other while nodding is frankly beautiful. It’s the most relaxed and open they’ve ever looked at each other. They’ve obviously had some meaningful glances in the past, but it’s normally related to some sort of trauma, or resolve, or anger over an imaginary enemy where Roy is concerned. This is just a calm, happy, open acknowledgement of each other.
Natalie: This look was a moment in one of the trailers. No one knew what could have made them look like THAT at each other, so soft, but we knew it had to be a pretty amazing experience. And honestly, looking up at the pretty lit up windmill by night is extremely date-like behaviour, it has to be said. Not quite the Northern Lights, but the parallel of Jamie obtaining a vehicle and whisking Roy away on an adventure to see something special is not lost on me. I’m 100% serious. Sometimes I am being playful about that potential, but Ted Lasso mirrors moments a lot, or echos moments. Like the two hallway “fakeouts” in episode 2. Jack whisking Keeley away is a mirror of Jamie whisking Roy away, Whatever that might mean. Especially because their moment of actually admiring the windmill is during the jazz montage, “Let’s Get Lost” where the key line is “To celebrate this night we’ve found each other, let’s get lost.” The episode is really all about people finding a new important connection, each main story shows this big turning point and new massively important thing.
Megan: Yeah look, I feel like it probably does not mean that Roy and Jamie are going to end up in a romantic relationship, but the mirroring is very intentional. The lyric as they’re cycling away from the windmill is “let’s get lost in each other’s arms.” Given moments later Roy trashes his bike and has to be carried on the back of Jamie’s for the rest of the night, with his arms wrapped around him…that’s pretty literal!
Natalie: Yeah, I mean, they may not be romantic, but they are certainly intimate. And I’ll never fully rule out romantic unless they prove otherwise. It’s 2023 and this show just keeps queering characters.
Megan: Oh yeah, I can’t rule it out, I’m just managing my expectations.
Natalie: Look, I was going to save Will for later on, but I think this might be the best place to tackle his and Higgins’ story, because from what I can tell, that plot about getting Will to fall in love with jazz served four purposes. One) to give Jeremy Swift the chance to shine and play bass, like just to give him a fun showcase moment. Two) to get that perfect Chet Baker song in for the montage. Three) to feed us the idea that MMF threesomes are a healthy, wholesome lifestyle choice that you should have no qualms telling your mum about, and 4) to reflect Jamie’s experience in the red light district in such an oppositional, positive way. The fact that Jamie’s never around when Higgins is talking about the red light district or making Will a man gives everyone else in the scene permission to be quippy about it, the “nahhhhs” etc. And we as the audience don’t think anything of the jokes until we hear Jamie’s story. But seeing Will, feeling supported, nurtured, and safe, happy to spend the night with the show’s best father figure, instantly in love with the jazz music and happy to accept a threesome from a lovely couple… It feels like it has to be a positive spin on Jamie’s story, right? Like, the night young William becomes a man. And the fact is, Higgins never meant it like that. But Will felt supported and safe and free to explore his sexual curiosity because of it.
Megan: Exactly that. Firstly, in a show about fathers and sons, I don’t think enough is made about how good a dad Higgins is. He has five sons, he cares about the team – inviting them round for Christmas – he doles out advice, some good, some bad, some very weird, you are correct, he is the best dad. Given the others that we’ve met – bar Sam’s based on his phone conversations – are all…not so great. in varying different ways though, maybe the writers think it’s enough for Higgins to just be there, being wonderful. And I really did love the recurring theme of everyone staring after Higgins, looking back at each other and just shaking their head nah. So funny, but everyone is extremely confident that Higgins would not be going there. And then the difference between Higgins and Will, and James and Jamie becomes so stark after Jamie tells us about what happened. We said at the start that the Will and Higgins scene is perhaps one of the ones that could have been cut if they were really worried about length, but I really think it would have been a shame to lose that comparison point. It only makes Jamie’s trauma feel worse, seeing such a clear indication of what a healthy fatherly relationship should look like. Do you think he said yes to threesome though? I vote yes.
Natalie: Oh yeah. I don’t think that was saying like, “Oh, how novel! Can you imagine!”
Megan: The thought of them all having a night in Amsterdam and not a single person having sex is just too unrealistic.
Natalie: They would not have shown the couple looking at him all night if he was not meant to have gone for it.
Megan: I agree. I wonder how often Will tells his mum about his casual hookups.
Natalie: I LOVE that he did that.
Megan: Maybe she’s been worried about him since the break-up, being lonely, so he’s letting her know that she doesn’t need to worry and he’s moving on.
Natalie: Like I said, it puts the idea on the screen as if it is wholesome and acceptable to even tell your mum about. And Ted Lasso treating threesomes or polyamory as valid and a wholesome choice is really important to me, lol. Dani’s also been seen having one, and he’s the show’s other most wholesome character. The sweetest best boys get the threesomes, so Jamie really should be on that list.
Megan: That’s just facts.
Natalie: I also have questions about whether Will packed up Roy, Jamie and Rebecca’s rooms. Or if they ever even unpacked, I suppose. We see him loading the bus, which is not their own bus, just a local Holland bus company presumably taking them to the airport, but we don’t know if they arrived the day of the match or had already stayed a night. But Rebecca goes out even without her handbag, and Roy and Jamie never got back to the hotel.
Megan: I had the same thought! Rebecca at least might have had a chance to go back to her hotel and pack things up, though she seems far too relaxed to have worried about that. But Roy and Jamie come straight from whatever adventures they’re having back to the bus.
Natalie: Will’s had a busy time, what with all the threesomes and packing.
Megan: And momentarily worrying about the state of Higgins’ marriage.
Natalie: But Rebecca, I’m not quite sure about. She does feel a bit like she’s come straight from the boat. Rebecca’s Amsterdam story was probably the one I was the most surprised about, but it made me incredibly happy. Funnily enough, the canal fall was something else we knew about, because it’s hard to film that in public without being noticed, but I had NO IDEA what kind of way it would be used. This was what we meant when talking about knowing the “upside down, drenched but safe” of Tish’s prophecy from 3.03 came true. But the big question is – do you think the thunder and lightning means that Rebecca was “struck by lightning” here?
Megan: Yes! She had such an instant, sparky connection with him and I really think that’s what was meant. Some of Tish’s prophecies have been very literal, but we know that the most literal interpretation of “you’re going to be a mother” likely won’t come true – I think this is another case where it’s not a literal prediction.
Natalie: Yeah, and the thunder and lightning stuff was mixed up inside of this upside down wet one.
Megan: So now is when it would have happened.
Natalie: All this is pointing to Tish looking pretty legit, but unlike the matchbook or the shite, Rebecca is not thinking about that stuff at all. There’s no moment of her being like “Oh my god, it’s happening.” Which I think is really good, actually.
Megan: Yeah she’s completely in the moment, experiencing it, not trying to twist it to fit some prophecy or deeper meaning.
Natalie: And what a moment. It’s worth pointing out that this whole story can be viewed in two ways. One being that this was a beautiful one-off, a special day that just helped Rebecca reset herself and think about her wants and needs, that the Boat Guy is a sort of healing transitional figure, a metaphor, and that she really won’t see him again but his “lessons” will leave her open to what comes next, namely realising what she wants, which at this point, would be Ted. The other way to look at it is that Boat Guy is the one, the true endgame, and that the special night together will end up with Rebecca unable to shake the connection, that they will find each other again and this is the real deal. I think it’s the latter. I would certainly prefer it was the latter. I’m not quite willing to bet my house on it being definite, but to me, I felt like it was all set up to be the latter, that Ted Lasso was kind of showing the audience this and trying to make you want this for her. My suspicion is that what they’re going for is to give the audience a feeling of, well, gezellig, and make you really see that this is something special that she should get to have in the long run. Others may interpret that differently, but through my experience with media, rom-coms and stuff, that’s the impression I got about the intent, that they leave us wanting her to be able to find him again. I can vaguely see a world where it’s the opposite, that it was a one-off lesson that leads to Ted, but honestly they’d have to turn the heat up with Sudiekis fast, because the level of chemistry with Boat Guy was so much deeper in terms of romance than anything Ted and Rebecca have had. This certainly isn’t the current vibe between them, and they’d have to beat this vibe to sell me on them being in love with each other. Kudos to the casting and writing though, because we’ve been saying that we can’t imagine buying a New Love Interest for Rebecca, and like, caring about them. Like selling us on a new connection. Well, I was wrong. They can if it’s this guy!
Megan: I am leaning towards it likely being the latter option too – and not just because I really want it. The chemistry between them really is so immediately off the wall intense. Even before he comes back when she’s wandering around his boat snooping she just seems utterly charmed by every new detail. Charmed and fascinated. And while I am still sceptical about Tish, she has been right about so many other things, so I think she may yet be right about the mother element, and of course we see that BG has a daughter. Her room especially really affects Rebecca on her tour, the way her face softens there is gorgeous. So that is another tick in favour of the latter.
Natalie: It felt SO much like she was discovering her new home, this place that made her feel warmer and more delighted than anything has in ages.
Megan: Her and Ted are clearly very important and connected on some level, but it’s never felt romantic to me, and after the way this man bowled her – and me – over, I just can’t see her and Ted having the same effect on me as a couple.
Natalie: I seriously suspect that in the finale we will see her reading to that little girl in that bed. The girl’s bedroom really is what sold me on this being the endgame. Because they do not talk about the child, they do not have him talk about being a dad. We just see Rebecca fall in love with the concept of this little girl. And all in all, we’ve NEVER seen her look as happy and relaxed as she does in this episode. That sweet face she makes in the doctor’s office when she thinks maybe she can have a baby? She’s making that for most of the episode.
Megan: There are other little nods to him being a father – his kissing her foot out of habit probably did not, in fact, come from his military experience. But yeah, she doesn’t actually get spoken about, it’s just the thought of her existence that affects Rebecca.
Natalie: Yes, it’s all in the implications without shouting it out loud. So while I am prepared to be wrong – Ted Lasso can sell me on something pretty fast if they decide to, they can carefully make things feel different – I definitely read this as a full love at first sight romcom. It’s very Hallmark movie, the posh big city girl and the slightly rough and tumble houseboat guy.
Megan: Hah! I was about to say! Yes exactly that.
Natalie: Even how he treats her with that sort of Dutch frankness, that’s very romcom, like “Oh! This man doesn’t act to me like other men!” Like he’s very warm, but the whole not serving her the drink, his bluntness.
Megan: I did wonder if the drink thing was yet another attempt of his to set her at ease about the whole, being on his boat with no way of contacting anyone. Like, if she makes her own drink, she’ll know it’s safe.
Natalie: That’s fair, but I think it was more an example of his Dutchness. Because he made her the tea. Not drugged.
Megan: I think so too. We get a little Jan Maas call back with “my technique is sound.” Further examples of how Dutch he is.
Natalie: He’s blunt in a very disarming way, it charms the fuck out of her.
Megan: And me. I do have one confession. We’ve been calling him BG here, for lack of an actual name. In my head however I have been calling him Dutch Pep. Because of his aesthetic, his intenseness, and his occasional deadpan comment… look, he gives me slight Pep Guardiola vibes, and without a real name I needed something to call him.
Natalie: Megan, this man is tall and gorgeous, Pep is a tiny little gnome. We are not calling him that.
Megan: He was a model once! But fine. BG it is.
Natalie: Participating in a modelling show under duress does not make someone “a model.” And I would not feel very cosy, trapped on a boat with Pep. Their intensity is not the same kind of intensity, LOL. But this whole environment they created for the boat, all the knickknacks, the very orange lighting – it’s such a warm vibe, you just want to curl up there forever. I really feel like we’ll see Rebecca basically move onto the boat at the end of the series. She can have her own giant tupperware of clothes.
Megan: She’s very rich. She can pay to have it transported to London in whatever way you’d move a houseboat from one country to the next. Or she can just split her time between London and Amsterdam – it’s a very short journey.
Natalie: Megan, this is TV Land. He is going to sail that boat to London.
Megan: Knock on all the doors of London until he finds hers. Or maybe he sees her photo in a football article about Richmond and shows up at the club one day.
Natalie: I think she’ll try to find him. Go back to Amsterdam. Boat’s gone. She thinks she’s lost him. Then comes back to London, and finds he’s also come to her.
Megan: That would be very Love Actually of them.
Natalie: The thing with the dress is SO romcom, the fact she picks out one and loves it, and of course it’s one he bought but the ex hated. Like, that’s a LOUD signal, that’s a classic sort of trope of “You’re the one.” And she looks so good. So different, but the whole thing is about her being freer, looser, totally unwinding.
Megan: My other ludicrous rom-com suggestion is that “my technique is sound” is actually a hint that he is Jan Maas’ uncle. He comes to London to watch a match – don’t ask why he wasn’t at the Ajax game – looks up and sees her in her box and has to jump a security barrier to get to her. But maybe that’s pushing it, even by Hallmark movie standards.
Natalie: Aahahahaha. No, I think they’re both just very Dutch. Rebecca starts out being quite clipped, little “Yeps” and brusque comments even when she’s agreeing, because she doesn’t quite know how to loosen up, but you can tell she really wants to, like “wet clothes in a bag are quite heavy.” Girrrrrrl.
Megan: She’s really talking herself into staying on this boat.
Natalie: And I support it.
Megan: Oh, hey. If I can’t have Dutch Pep, can we compromise and call him Boaty McBoatFace? Or is that a bit long?
Natalie: No. Too long. You wanna type Boaty McBoatFace every time? Plus, that’s too English.
Megan: Fine! BG it is.
Natalie: I respect that BG is open about his admiration and attraction to her. These are both experienced adults, not a young woman being preyed on by a creep. His blunt attraction and offers of a foot rub come across as a positive. Rebecca doesn’t need game playing.
Megan: Yes! Though she plays a bit coy – asking if she should be worried about some giant Dutch woman strangling her feels like an attempt to suss out his current relationship status. And then he reveals that he was also cheated on by his ex and that feels like the moment where any last hesitations from her vanish because she obviously knows how that feels.
Natalie: Yeah, she’s prying a bit, and I think that’s fair of her, but his answer is so fantastic. It’s one of the things that could either mean “You are perfect for me, you’ve been through what I have been through and come out stronger,” or could also be something that serves her in life even if she does not see him again. As a lesson, a healing approach she could take. It gives her some perspective, you know?
Megan: Yeah. This season she’s still very consumed by Rupert and what he did, and she is channelling that into her obsession with beating him. But BG’s reflection – that his reaction to his exes action was destructive – could be what leads her to stop fixating on beating Rupert, and instead focusing on the positives in her life. Which could mean Ted, it could mean Sam, it could mean her otherwise good life, away from Rupert. I am still personally hoping for “you are perfect for me”, but either way it clearly makes an impact.
Natalie: I also like that BG is willing to share his truth for the sake of Rebecca’s… safety? I guess? Like she jokingly expresses a concern about these being trophies from all the women he’s slept with, and she doesn’t really sound worried. But the man is SO respectful, leaving while she showers even though she’d said he didn’t need to, letting her pour her own alcohol as you said – I do think it’s a fair point – answering all her questions, telling her he can call a cab. She’s “stuck” there without her phone, but she isn’t actually stuck, you know? It’s really her choice to stay, because she feels drawn to him and the situation.
Megan: Rebecca is a powerful, confident woman. She’s not easily intimidated, and she doesn’t do things she doesn’t want to do. She’s there because she wants to be, and she wants to be because their connection is so immediate and intense.
Natalie: Throwing the water into the tumble dryer is one of the sexiest things I have ever seen in my life.
Megan: Oh my god, I yelped at that.
Natalie: Like, sorry Ted. You’ll have to get up very early in the morning to beat that. That was such a statement. That’s one of the things that makes me think of COURSE this has to be it, right? But the scene is also not free of Ted metaphors. When Rebecca drinks the tea, she has that “Fuck me” response, same as the first time she consumes Ted’s biscuits. And the song they sing together is Kenny Rogers, who was Ted’s first concert. They could have used any Dutch cover of any song, but they went with this. Though maybe this one is really famous and it is more of a coincidence. Honestly, when they sang together… Ted connection or not, it was so great, and not something I can’t imagine her and Ted doing even if they do fall in love. BG has no preconceived notions of how Rebecca is as a person, she can act her natural self in whatever way comes. She’s known Ted for years. I can’t imagine their dynamic changing even if they got together. He’d be the silly one and Rebecca would primly try not to laugh. I just can’t see her being silly around Ted, for some reason. They are too set in their roles.
Megan: I think he met her when she had so many walls up she refused to let herself be silly. And we obviously know she is, but she did not want him to see that. Yes, he pushed through her walls, but that was by being kind to her and supporting her. Even now with them clearly being closer, they still have a barrier of sorts up between them. He still calls her boss most of the time. You do obviously have people that have been friends for years and then suddenly realise they’re in love, but I struggle to picture what that would look like with them. And to be frank, every single person we’ve seen Rebecca go for during this show has been extremely attractive and sexy. The waiter in Liverpool. Luca. Sam. BG. Ted is good looking, but he doesn’t have the same confident, sexy vibe that those men do. I really struggle to picture that with him and her, too.
Natalie: Sorry to those who see him differently, including Sassy, but Ted is the least sexually charged man I have ever seen. I get less than zero sexual energy coming from him. Sassy tells us he’s good, but we’ve never actually seen him turn on any sort of romantic charm.
Megan: See,and Sassy obviously has only known him in that context. So I can kind of buy that she feels that way about him. Rebecca has seen too much of silly Ted, for me to buy her seeing him as sexy. If the show does end in a Ted and Rebecca place I am intrigued to see how they sell their physical relationship to me.
Natalie: Yeah, like Roy and windmills, I will believe it when I see it. Windmills are real, so it’s possible. But I will believe it when I see it.
Natalie: I cannot picture it at all. I can picture them getting together in a way that’s old married, like, skipping any crush and tension, but not this sexy chemistry. And I will always yearn for Rebecca to have this level of intense perfection. What BG has made me realise is that the reason I don’t want her with Ted is, more than anything, because I want someone whose only job is loving Rebecca. Like, other characters I would argue differently. I don’t want Jamie dating someone who’s just there to be his girlfriend. And usually, I would object to someone being “just a love interest.” But with Rebecca, the story is really that she wants someone who is her person. She wants a deep romantic love that fulfils all she didn’t get in marriage. Nothing about Ted’s story involves him yearning for romantic love. He has a lot of other things going on. And sure, most of the time you’d want two complex characters happening to find love, each with their own journey. But I think in this case, I want someone whose only role in the story is to worship Rebecca.
Megan: Yeah honestly at this stage, I don’t really need to know any more of BG’s backstory or motivation. It’s enough for me that he could be the kind of person Rebecca wants, and with potentially only six episodes left, I’m okay with that being his only purpose in the plot.
Natalie: I really didn’t think they could sell me on a new person at this stage, but they did.
Megan: If we met him halfway through season 2, I’d probably want more from him, but not now. I suppose the one exception of course is meeting his daughter. That would flesh him out a little bit – and show him in a different light – but it would still be in service of Rebecca getting the kind of relationship and family she didn’t get with Rupert.
Natalie: Yeah, for sure. Presumably the ex has her at this moment – I did a bit of Dutch translating and I think that was the conversation he was having on the phone, talking to the ex about the kid. But Rebecca being a stepmother to her makes me feel a lot better than to Henry, with all the Michelle drama.
Megan: Any ending that would see Henry moving to England with Michelle not in the picture leaves a really bad taste in my mouth. That scenario is too complicated for me. This would be lovely and free of baggage and the decor in the girl’s room makes me think she might be the kind of age where Rebecca could take her to twee afternoon tea and doll shopping.
Natalie: Look, if this goes the way I think and hope, we will meet her. I feel in my gut that this is it, this is the one. My brain is considering other options and it has to be said people are very confident about Ted and Rebecca, and there are some Ted links here sure. But I just don’t feel it, you know? They wouldn’t waste this kind of a zing.
Megan: There are definitely enough hints and easter eggs that it could go that way. But yeah, I don’t vibe with it, whereas BG has an instant, intense vibe. The sexy water throwing has to mean something, you know?
Natalie: Definitely thought we were getting yet another cunnilingus moment there for a second, but no, it’s just metaphorical sex in the form of a foot rub. But the montage scenes for them over Let’s Get Lost, the way they dance and stuff… I mean. I think that a lot of people would assume this is the big falling in love moment.
Megan: It’s a fair assumption. It is so rom-com coded. And then to cap it all off they don’t even have sex, he just tenderly tucks her in on the sofa and goes to sleep in his own bed. Side note: I just don’t imagine any of the clothes Rebecca owns are the kind that can go in a tumble dryer – let alone twice because of sexy water throwing. That, combined with the canal water, makes me feel like they will be thrown out once she gets home. Or framed and hung on her wall in memory of BG.
Natalie: Look, the jeans and tshirt, sure. The scarf and jacket, not so much.
Megan: Even I would know better than putting that in the dryer, and I am notorious for seeing washing instructions as being more like recommendations than hard and fast rules.
Natalie: Now. Presuming that they WILL see each other again, what did you make of the morning after? She turns down breakfast, which is fair because no one from the team even knows where she is – Ted must have been a bit concerned about her not replying – but my one quibble with any of this is the fact she asks “Did we…” as if she can’t remember if they had sex. She was not drunk. They had some brandy and wine but they are adults and European adults to boot. They were not drunk at all, they were drinking very casually.
Megan: And it was mixed with food and probably some water if they didn’t keep pouring it into the dryer, so that will neutralise the effects.
Natalie: It makes me wonder if she didn’t actually mean “Did we have sex,” but more that she also meant the question he later answers, like “Did we… have something here?” The surface read is “Did we have sex.” That is what the dialogue is saying. But it doesn’t massively make sense to me that she would ask that? It kind of feels like they had her ask it purely so they could make BG answer it in a subversive way once she leaves.
Megan: But maybe the twist is she was asking it in a subversive way too.
Natalie: He was definitely saying no, we didn’t have sex, but yes, our souls made love.
Megan: Yes. No question there.
Natalie: But her asking and him saying no to her, if she meant “Did we have a connection,” and he said no, that would be a rejection. I don’t know, it’s a bit confusing. Maybe that’s why she leaves without getting his name or email address on a bit of paper, her phone being in the canal.
Megan: She does look a bit disappointed,when he says no.
Natalie: She thinks that this wasn’t anything for him, but that it meant a lot to her.
Megan: This is why he needs to make the grand gesture of sailing his definitely not seaworthy houseboat across the English Channel and up the Thames, to convince her.
Natalie: It’s funny, because some people might see that as like, “Oh, if she really liked him she would have tried to make sure she could see him again.” But I’m like, I’ve seen SO many things where the couple meets and actively CHOOSES not to get numbers and is like “If it’s meant to be we will find each other again!” And then they do. Like, they say that aloud. This was giving that, to me.
Megan: It fits the general rom-com vibe.
Natalie: The fact that she does NOT have his name or number is why she will probably obsess over him. And be like, “I have to find him.”
Megan: I also think it fits Rebecca as a character though. We know she’s scared of being hurt and rejected. Maybe in that moment, after hearing “no” and thinking it means “no we didn’t have a connection,” maybe she didn’t want to risk asking and getting hurt. And then as you say she obsesses about him and decides it is worth putting herself out there, risking being hurt, to go find him again. God. I’m sorry Sam. I love you, I love you and Rebecca together. But I think I’m all in on Boat Guy.
Natalie: I totally agree. I think that morning she was not like, “Right I know what I want and it’s you,” I think she was a bit addled by what had seemed like a surreal dream date. And yeah, I want this more than I want Sam for her.
Megan: I would choose Sam over Ted. But not over BG.
Megan: But yeah, it was a very intense 18 hours or so, ending in an extremely hot kiss. And an Alzheimers joke. She can be forgiven for being a bit overwhelmed and deciding to leave before she says or does anything that spoils it.
Natalie: I think it makes a lot of sense for her not to really know what to do about this, in this moment. It was all very unexpected, and she wasn’t quite ready to just be like, “so, should we date?” It is very realistic to just be like, “well, I’m not sure what to do here.” To be honest, I have had a situation like this, with someone who is very important to me, someone I have a very unusual relationship with. Funnily enough he also now lives on a houseboat. But we met when I was in a bad place, very lost emotionally. At his workplace, he’s a rare book dealer. We spent several hours deeply connecting, and then I left. Several years later, on a visit back, I went into the shop again and was like I don’t know if you remember me, but…He did, and again, we talked a lot, and then at the end, he went down to his office for something and when he came back, even though I was so anxious about it, I was like, this might be weird but can I email you or something? And he was like I was just getting you my card. There was a gap of a fair few years between the first time and later. But I definitely knew that meeting really, really changed me, and I still just left. It happens. It happens! And you know very well how intense I am with that person.
Megan: Yes! I actually don’t think I realised you left it a few years before you went back and saw him again. I think I always thought that you stayed in touch immediately afterwards.
Natalie: No, I met him in 2006 when still living there. I also didn’t know his name. There was a big gap.
Megan: I hope there’s nowhere near as big a gap for Rebecca and BG.
Natalie: Me too. That relationship is the most romcommy thing in my life despite not being actually romantic in that sense. But she needs to find him within like, six months tops.
Megan: Honestly it really does make sense for Rebecca’s character especially. Asking him for any kind of commitment, or if he thought there was potential for them, would have been very overwhelming in that moment.
Natalie: The point is, I get it. I get why she left.
Natalie: It’s just like, not knowing what to do with the way things have profoundly shifted.
Megan: It is understandable, but oof. As a viewer I wanted him to run after her and ask how he can see her again.
Natalie: The fact that we even get a point of view shot of his response after she leaves makes me think that he really matters. Like, seeing things through his eyes. I have to say as well, the Alzheimer’s joke – like, “I won’t forget you,” and he says you might, right, as in, downgrading himself, but he’s not, the joke is like “Of course you won’t, unless you get Alzheimer’s,” It did make me think of Sam – “I’m only going to get more wonderful.” Same kind of healthy confidence.
Megan: It’s not arrogance or bravado, but they’re both very comfortable in their own skin, they really know themselves and value themselves I think. And again, when thinking about a Ted and Rebecca scenario, his energy is really very different.
Natalie: Yeah, I honestly see Ted as more eager to please and I don’t think that’s what Rebecca responds well to. Ted is lovely and I think he would be a good boyfriend for the right person, but I don’t think he’s smooth or charismatic.
Megan: And for all that they have a genuine connection, she also, more than I think anyone else we see, cuts him off a lot. She’ll interrupt and hurry him along when he’s off on a long winded anecdote. She loves him, they are important to each other, but I always think she is borderline exasperated by his energy!
Natalie: That could be because they’re in Work Mode. We don’t really know what they are like socially. They must have hung out socially before, they’ve mentioned off screen events like the dinner where Ted met Rebecca’s dad.
Megan: Yeah that’s true, I might be being overly harsh there.
Natalie: Your point is fair, because it’s what we know of them. We can’t truly judge an off screen dynamic we haven’t witnessed.
Megan: Look. In the space of one episode they got me completely rooting for Rebecca and Boat Guy. They have six episodes left, so they could manage to do the same with Ted and Rebecca – especially if we do see them out of work and more relaxed – but I feel like it’s going to be an uphill battle to get me there.
Natalie: She’s in such a blissful daze when she gets back to the bus, and not very sorry to have been ignoring Ted. Like, she’s a bit sheepish, but not enough to break her out of her vibe.
Megan: She almost seems high, she’s so relaxed. His foot massages must be out of this world.
Natalie: Ted is looking at her like he doesn’t even recognize her, and not in a “Wow I just realised I love you” way. He’s very confused. Beard’s nod confused ME. What did you think he was indicating to Ted there? Does he think Rebecca got high? Or suspect she got laid? No idea.
Megan: Unless Beard thinks it is Keats – which seems unlikely – yes I have to assume Ted is silently asking “Okay she’s high though right? No dud drugs here?” and Beard is nodding in confirmation. Because she really does seem stoned. I think they could be forgiven for thinking that. I’m a little sad we don’t see a shot of her passing Sam on the coach, giving him a nod. Just one final moment to let me say goodbye to that ship before embracing the new one.
Natalie: I think we will get more than a little moment. I think they are going to have a closure chat soon.
Megan: That would make sense. I’ll mentally prepare myself for the heartbreak now.
Natalie: I would feel a bit jilted if they didn’t, given her matchbook obsession.
Megan: She’s clearly still been hung up on him. Even if she is all in on Boat Guy now, their relationship deserves a real conclusion.
Natalie: They’ve gotta do it. I really do think they must. This is the first episode since the prediction where we HAVEN’T seen her thinking about Sam. And honestly we haven’t gotten any perspective on Sam at all. I’m glad next week is about the restaurant, because he was elevated in season 2 to a proper point of view character and he has not had that same treatment at all this year. But he does, importantly, wear a crop top vest with no shirt. God, I wouldn’t trade the Roy and Jamie arc, but… not getting to see Jamie in a cropped training vest with no shirt, playing with his friends… hurts me.
Megan: Ah well, in season 1 Ted did say that once they picked a pillow fight for the first time, they’d always pick it. Maybe we’ll get another pillow fight scene later with Jamie taking part. I can dream.
Natalie: I will pay a fan artist to draw Jamie in one of those outfits. He is the one who needs a crop top the MOST. They’re appropriating his culture.
Megan: I will go halvsies for that art.
Natalie: The himbo story isn’t much more than cute, it’s sort of there to allow Colin to sneak off from it, but it’s also a fun way of getting them all united after a period of the team feeling out of sorts. Not that they have been fighting, just, you know, not having the best time. But it’s interesting, how carefully the episode keeps Jamie away from the plots that would potentially trigger him. Like, he needed to be off with Roy for his own reasons, but just like how he never hears Higgins comments about young Will becoming a man, he does not have to deal with the live sex show argument. And honestly, while I think Jamie is capable of a healthy and even potentially kinky sex life, let’s keep him clear of the Amsterdam red light district entirely, yeah? If he wants to watch some people having sex he can do it in a better environment, and probably not for money.
Megan: To misquote Jan, the himbos spirits are broken. Their arc this episode helps them heal – emotionally at least. Physically I think some of them come out of it worse off. At the end, on the bus, when Van Damme makes his final sex show comment I did look at Roy and Jamie’s reaction with interest, but they both mostly just look confused – and a bit judgey. The real heroes of this scene are the hotel staff, who somehow manage to cope with these idiots (affectionate) spending an entire night in their lobby.
Natalie: We really get a lot of moments that colour the personalities of all the main ones, like Richard, and Moe Bumbercatch. Some of these players are himboier than others. I do think Dani has to be the dumbest, in a very, very sweet way. Then probably Thierry, then Colin. Just in terms of like, being thick. Moe, Sam, and Jan are smart. Richard is French. Isaac is tired.
Megan: I would agree with that ranking. This is probably the most French we’ve seen Richard, even excluding the times he’s actually spoken French, and I screamed out loud at so many of his lines. But poor Isaac. He is desperate for everyone to stick together, but they are not cooperating.
Natalie: Jamie would have found a tulip for Dani, but he’s busy.
Megan: Nat. There is a vase of tulips behind Isaac for this entire scene. Does Dani actually know what a tulip is?
Natalie: I’m going to assume not. God, he’s such an angel. On one hand it’s a shame he’s such comic relief because I think it would be interesting to actually have a deeper story about him and his inner life. Because I think Cristo is a very good actor. On the other hand… it’s so fucking funny. Honestly, the amount of time they spent fucking around, they could have gotten to that party and had a fun road trip on the way. But running around town from museum to museum would also have been really fun. Don’t be so quick to reject Trent’s ideas!
Megan: I agree where Dani is concerned. Especially with Dani’s hero worship of Zava, I really feel like there could have been an interesting story there – either Dani and Jamie clashing because Jamie didn’t like Zava, or more heartbreak after Zava left. But alas no. Maybe if he comes back. I’m with Trent, museums can be fun! And many of these boys are in desperate need of a little extra knowledge.
Natalie: Look, at least none of them fell in a canal.
Megan: True. The fact that they don’t end up leaving the hotel is probably a blessing in disguise. There were so many ways that the bunch of them, running around Amsterdam, could end badly.
Natalie: It shows how wholesome they really are. But honestly, Jan’s idea was the best. They could have had singalongs on the bus all the way to the party.
Megan: That’s true, and I do like breakfast food. I could probably find a quiet corner to nap during the actual party part. It would enable a lot of team bonding, which is what Isaac wants.
Natalie: Even Sam is genuinely on board with it, even though he would rather stay in. Not to keep going back to Jamie, but God I want to know Sam’s thoughts on Jamie and Roy, because he’s who Jamie is sitting with when Roy pulls him off the bus, and his face, the look he gives Jamie, is so funny.
Megan: I know that with an ensemble cast this big I’m never going to get every scene I want with Jamie and Roy, but fuck I wish we’d seen how they all find out about the training. Or just like, a scene of Jamie rocking up at Sam’s for team video games and collapsing on a sofa and weeping about being tired.
Natalie: I’m really looking forward to getting back to some scenes focused on Sam in particular next episode. I’m missing his story.
Megan: Agreed. He was really lovely in this episode – and I enjoyed him continuously calling Isaac “captain” – such a good boy.
Natalie: We do go back to Colin’s point of view, though, which is sort of the himbo topic of the season the way Sam was a main focus last year. Not that I want to totally throw shade on the rest of the audience, and not that I want outside opinions to play in too much, but I cannot believe there were people saying that the Colin story was just being ignored, like after episode 3, “Oh they’re not going to mention it again,” as in, they thought it just wasn’t going to come up. And I also can’t BELIEVE anyone, FOR A SECOND, thought Trent was going to out him, whether or not they thought Trent was gay. Seeing some opinions about Trent noticing Colin and Michael kissing has just made me think I don’t live on the same planet as other people.
Megan: This is a man who literally quit the job he’d been doing – for years – because he felt bad about outing Ted’s mental health struggles in an article. He says he’s looking for something more meaningful, and since joining Richmond has been respectful and warm. Every time I saw a new comment speculating that Trent was going to do something to harm Colin I was just so confused. Did they think that comment from Trent in season 2 was a lie? That he was just trying to get close to the team for more juicy news to write about? It’s just completely at odds with everything we see of Trent.
Natalie: Yeah, it was just an unbelievably strange take. I’m not sure they understood the character. Even if I didn’t think he was gay, which I did, him witnessing Colin was really about him being in the know and basically knowing Colin was at risk of being caught, that he’s hiding this, that he knows Colin is struggling in the dressing room. And trying to figure out a way to help him. To be there for him. Again, even if he wasn’t gay.
Megan: I think as audiences we are often primed to look for potential conflict and bumps in the road for characters, so with Trent so obviously focusing on Colin and noticing any comments or behaviours that are hints towards his sexuality, I suppose I can see why some people might see that and assume the worst. But I think it ignores the kind of show Ted Lasso is, and the kind of person Trent is, because my mind never for one second thought Trent witnessing Colin would lead to him being anything other than a supportive mentor.
Natalie: But I’ve always thought Trent was gay, right from the beginning, so in terms of seeing it through a queer lens, it just felt so obvious what that story was. I’ll talk about this more in a bit, but and it’s something I asked James Lance about over a year ago in an interview and I didn’t realise it was something he would have to play so coy. I asked if Trent was meant to be gay as just an incidentally known thing, you know? Like Keeley. Because we see him leaving the pub with a guy on what is very obviously, to me, a date. I really, really thought he was meant to have been OPENLY gay, and James would not answer it and got very flustered. From the way he responded in the interview, which was one of the greatest ones I’ve ever done, I knew for sure he was, but didn’t really understand why it was a sort of secret plot as opposed to Ted Lasso having Trent as a character who is openly gay to, you know, show that there are some queer people in Richmond. He was obviously one of the people on my queer characters list, that I thought would be shown this season. So far, I’ve gotten three out of six… maybe four, with Beard and Man City! Sharon sadly still isn’t a lesbian, and Jamie, well… let’s wait and see. But bonus – Will! Little bisexual Will. But turns out Trent’s queerness is a bit of a plot point rather than incidental, which makes me have a LOT of thoughts.
Megan: I definitely thought Trent was very openly gay in his personal life, and had been for the bulk of his life, until this episode. I figured, they aren’t mentioning it yet, because they want it to be confirmed as part of the Colin arc, but I really wasn’t expecting this particular backstory for him.
Natalie: I couldn’t be happier with this whole plot though, from Trent’s foot in the door as Colin leaves, to the bartender calling Colin sweetie, to the way Trent handles approaching him, “Sounds fun, I’m in.” Letting him know straight away that he’s there in support, even if Colin doesn’t take it that way. I also don’t think Colin was trying to hook up. I think he was just trying to… be gay, around gay people. “You’re whoever you want to be.” I liked that they made it about community, not sex.
Megan: I did have a split second, when he walked into the bar, where I thought “Oh, is he there to hook up? I thought he and Michael were seeing each other, that’s a shame, I liked Michael.” But then the second he asked the guy if he knew who Colin was, I realised that probably before now, Colin has had to be so careful, and seek people out really cautiously to make sure they won’t immediately recognise him, and that he can trust them not to out him if they do find out who he is. And so he was actually looking for a night where he could just be himself, completely, openly in a room full of strangers and not have to worry about it. Which was a pretty emotional realisation, and hit me hard, because Colin really is in one of the few professions that means his sexuality would be seen as a huge deal, and a huge talking point, and lead to a ton of abuse. More on that later, but I’m with you, it was done so well.
Natalie: He and Michael could be open, or maybe Michael is one of the guys who got tired of him being in the closet, like he mentions to Trent. He doesn’t say either way. He mentions wanting to be able to kiss his fella, but like, that could be a theoretical fella. I hope he’s still with Michael, but I also don’t want him to come out for the sake of a guy. That’s why I kind of loved the vibe of the bar and what he was looking for, just about identity, community, being open. Being able to lower his shoulders from around his ears, even if no one else he knew was there to see him. To just not have a mask on. The bartender even mentions making friends, though that was definitely also a euphemism. But like, I’ve been to gay bars, or queer events, parties and stuff, with zero interest in hooking up, and just felt looser about being in an environment that I know is tailored for me, that I don’t have to worry about someone doing something that would make me feel unsafe or unwelcome, even if they didn’t do it to me specifically or didn’t realise I was queer. And I’m not a professional footballer, I don’t spend most of my time worrying about being seen as queer or hiding it. I think Colin is probably worried about doing that, just finding a safe space, in London, because someone really might recognise him. But I also don’t think this was his first gay bar or anything. I think he’s found ways to do this before. He just hasn’t been followed.
Megan: Bloody Trent, ruining Colin’s plans.
Natalie: Look. At least he didn’t run Into Roy at G-A-Y. Though that would have been amazing.
Megan: Colin, getting invited to pancakes by the drag queens. He and Roy sit there and pointedly don’t talk. That would have been incredible. But you’re right. Queer spaces – whatever they might be – just hit differently. ESPECIALLY if you have to be so careful the rest of the time.
Natalie: That’s why I am really glad they went back to the party after their talk.
Megan: Yes. They both deserved that night.
Natalie: Honestly, I’m still a little bit shocked that they kept Trent closeted (from us) just to give these stakes to the Colin story, to maybe make people wonder what was going on. But I was extremely shocked at the implication that Trent is a late in life gay. There are a couple of ways you could take his explainer. If you really reached, you might think the woman he came out to twice and got closer than ever to was his mother. But given the way it’s followed up with a question about how his daughter is, I think the implication is wife.
Megan: I do too. Do you think it’s intended for him to be gay, or could this mean be bisexual? Because that’s also a read, that he’s bi and still with his wife romantically.
Natalie: Gay and left his wife, because I don’t think Colin would ask about the daughter if there wasn’t an implied change in the daughter’s lifestyle. His daughter is very young. Her dad coming out as bi and her parents’ marriage staying the same wouldn’t be within her awareness yet. So what we have is a man who knew he was gay, still got with a woman and had a child, had tried to come out to the woman earlier and then finally properly told her. And the split would have been recent, because in season 1, in May 2020, we learn it’s his daughter’s third birthday. So he only had her fairly recently, and presumably split with the wife within the years between his kid’s birth and season 1. But I’m genuinely wondering if falling in love with Ted is what made him end it once and for all, to know for sure he couldn’t do it anymore. Because I absolutely think he’s in love with Ted. I don’t think it’ll be reciprocated, but I think there will be a sad wistful confession. I also think we saw him on a date with a man in 2.07, and that was a clue to his sexuality. That episode is when James Lance said he first knew. So I don’t think he’s still with the mother of the kid.
Megan: That all tracks. Ted has had such a profound impact on him, and it would really fit with Ted’s role more generally in the show for him to be the catalyst that finally convinced Trent to properly end things. I really wasn’t expecting him to be a late in life gay, but then actually it makes sense because even in earlier interviews James talks about how he viewed Trent as being someone that had a difficult, oppressive father. With that context, it does make sense that he would suppress that part of himself until a Mary Poppins-esque character like Ted came along. And of course it means that even though he isn’t an athlete, he’ll still be able to understand why Colin feels like he has to hide it from the world.
Natalie: What did you think about their pink triangle conversation, about how Colin feels? And more importantly, what do you think will happen next? A full coming out? A club coming out? He said he doesn’t wanna be a spokesperson. When he talks about wanting his two lives to be his only life, that didn’t factor in him as a public figure. More his work community.
Megan: This is where I’m a bit uncertain. I really did think that Isaac fighting a fan, that we see in the trailer, would be because he was defending Colin. So I assumed it would be because he comes out more widely. But honestly, I wasn’t sure I wanted that because it’s so much heavier given the time we have left. So after his speech I think I’m leaning towards he’ll be coming out to the club only, and I think that’s my preference. The conversation itself was really fucking powerful. And given we know that some footballers do watch Ted Lasso and we also know that there are some footballers who are gay and either completely hidden about it, or out only to their club, I found the thought of any of them watching it very moving. It’s actually partly why I don’t want Ted Lasso to try and handle a public coming out. Because I think if there are any footballers already watching – or decide to watch to see how it handles a story so personal to them – that a public coming out would be so difficult to watch for them. Either because it will show the dark reality, which they’ll likely already spend too much time contemplating, or because it will sugarcoat it in a way that will just feel fake to them. Honestly it’s such a beautiful scene, and I think this conversation alone will mean so much to so many people. But in terms of Colin’s future it has solidified to me that I would like him to have a club coming out, and have it go well. Because for some closeted footballers I bet even coming out to their club feels impossible right now.
Natalie: I totally agree. I’m not sure if his desire to kiss his guy when the boys kiss their girls is meant to mean in public, but it’s not like you see footballers running over to kiss their girls on the side of the pitch. That isn’t a thing, unless it’s some massive massive massive victory where everyone runs on the grass.
Megan: No it doesn’t really happen. I think he means afterwards behind the scenes – in the corridors of the club, and being able to introduce Michael as his boyfriend, not his wingman.
Natalie: I am pro Colin coming out to the club and bringing his boyfriend to safe parties. I am pro them being realistic about handling a public coming out. Or not handling it, rather. And I think it would actually be a really good way to frame the public image part as like, “the public don’t know me and don’t have the right to my life,” but to be open within his real personal life.
Megan: There is a very powerful story to be told about a footballer coming out publicly, and how that goes down. But six episodes in an ensemble comedy show doesn’t feel like the right place for it to me. Even a show like this one which does handle dark and heavier content so well.
Natalie: Colin’s actively said he does not want to be a spokesperson. If he came out, it would be literally the overpowering story about Richmond, for the club, all year, in reality.
Megan: Depressingly they would likely have to do club statements after every single match about disappointing homophobia, and it would derail all other topics.
Natalie: I think we should see him coming out to the team, and being happy about that, and maybe some talk about how maybe in the future he will come out wider. But this isn’t actually a show that spends a lot of time reconciling private life with public image. It isn’t often about their fame. Suddenly having a story that’s about telling The World would feel a bit weird.
Megan: And there’s still conflict potential to him coming out to the club. With Isaac in particular, he’ll likely feel bad about his past somewhat shitty throwaway comments, and maybe feel hurt that Colin never told him. You don’t need the full public outing story to tell a meaningful story.
Natalie: I guess being publicly closeted would mean still forcing his boyfriend to be in the public closet, not going out on dates and stuff. But I wonder if it will be like, in the finale, when they win or make the Champions League or something, and it is a pitch rush, he kisses Michael and we see no consequences. Like, a club coming out in a few episodes time, then a no-aftermath public kiss. It would be kind of… weak… But I could see it.
Megan: I’d probably prefer that to a full outing aftermath story, just because I don’t think they have enough time to handle that. But I’d prefer just a club coming out. I like a dramatic post-game gay kiss reveal, but I have two other sports related fandoms where I got a moment like that. I don’t need a third.
Natalie: If they do that and then we actually do get season 4… what then?
Megan: It would depend on what season 4 looked like. In my ideal season 4, where Ted has gone back to Kansas and the show focuses way more fully on Richmond and the football element, I would probably be more okay with this storyline. Because I think it would have more time and space and focus to properly handle it. But for now, yeah, I agree with you. Just telling Richmond would be enough.
Natalie: Ultimately, I think the episodes could make a very strong case for why coming out at the club is enough, without it looking like a cop-out or Colin not being brave. But doing a public outing would need a much bigger focus to make it feel like it was done right. We’ll see.
Natalie: Dr Sharon, of course, was a huge part of Colin’s journey, as we always suspected.
Megan: We really haven’t seen as much of her as I thought we would. Maybe she will reappear to be there for Colin when he comes out to the club.
Natalie: I think that would be good. I also hope she recommended a new therapist for the players who needed ongoing help. He would be one, Jamie would be another.
Megan: In general I think all footballers should regularly be seeing a therapist, just as a standard practice. But at Richmond in particular there is a clear need for many of them – and for the coaching staff too. And the owner.
Natalie: Yeah, I think it should be pretty much mandatory. We talked about people assuming the worst of Trent. I wonder if those people will ask “Why did Trent follow him?” And when you think about it, the fact is, Trent followed him because he wanted to reach out to him and offer support. That’s why. It wasn’t just nosiness. He suspected Colin was off to do gay shit and he took this moment as the chance to let Colin know he had a friend. It’s so fucking nice of him, especially because he’s possibly not that experienced at being gay either. I get the impression Trent isn’t publicly out, mug aside, mainly because if he was, it would have been a sort of minor news story. He’s a bit famous, in the world of media, a well known writer. If he had been known as straight and penned some exclusive confession like “Now I’m Gay” it would be news, in football. I’m thinking of a lesser version of Philip Schofield. But maybe Trent needs this link as much as Colin.
Megan: I still think bringing the mug in was a deliberate attempt to signal to Colin, but it clearly didn’t get through to him. And I think you’re right, especially with Trent being so embedded in a football club. Even one with a manager as nice as Ted, that had to be nerve wracking for him – especially the first week with Roy being…himself – he had to be a bit concerned about how his sexuality would be taken. So him and Colin being known to each other would be important for both of them. I do genuinely think, these days, that most clubs – players, staff, owners – would be decent about footballers coming out. You’d get the odd individual that might privately think homophobic thoughts. But for the most part the club would be supportive.
Natalie: Yeah, I absolutely believe the party line of the club would be extreme support.
Megan: But even if, as Colin says, he’d like to think they wouldn’t care, the potential fear that they won’t be isn’t going to be easy to push aside.
Natalie: Not just from Richmond, any club. But especially Richmond. They wouldn’t just be saying it on paper, they would really mean it. But the fans.
Megan: Yeah. The fans.
Natalie: Colin doesn’t even mention the fans, but it’s implied heavily when talking with Trent about how much worse it is as a pro athlete. It’s the culture.
Megan: What Colin says, the way he describes the ache he has. One of the most common, more innocuous fan comments I see that aren’t as outright shitty but still drive me mad, are the people that say “Nobody cares, why do you have to even talk about your sexuality, just play football.” But the fact is not being able to be open really eats away at you. Colin – like I’m sure all these players in the closet – doesn’t want to make a big song and dance. He just wants to be able to act exactly the same way as everyone else. He doesn’t want to talk about it, he doesn’t want to make a big deal about it, but everyone else will. I think he expresses it so perfectly here, it’s just brilliant writing.
Natalie: Yeah, it’s about not having the same base freedoms to just be unconcerned. Because honestly for most gay people, I mean.. maybe not most, but I would say a lot, it’s like, internally you feel normal. Unless you have internalised homophobia, your base line feels normal to you. It isn’t something YOU see as different, it’s your normal. And Colin is comfortable within himself about being gay. He just hates not being able to square it away with the “normal” of football. Being open just means having the freedom to not fucking think about it any more. As long as there’s not abuse. Which is thinking about it in another way. And from the fans, there would be abuse. But being open at the club, it would just be about not having to be dedicating brain space and energy to hiding it.
Megan: Yes. Because it must be so fucking exhausting to have to keep those two lives separate. So fucking exhausting.
Natalie: The way things are going, I wouldn’t put it past Ted Lasso to have him come out in the dressing room and have others then follow it up, like Jamie. Or him and Trent to come out together, and there’s a farcical moment of people thinking they mean they’re a couple
Megan: Oh my god. Well now I want that. They have had many brilliant farcical dressing room scenes this season – let’s add that to the list.
Natalie: And then I think Ted will take Trent aside and be like, “why didn’t I know this, man?” And Trent will confess his love, knowing it can’t go anywhere, but saying he respects Ted so much and wants to make this book in tribute to his admiration of everything Ted is. And how loving Ted changed his life, even if they won’t be together.
Megan: God. If that happens, it will wreck me. And Ted. And probably Trent too.
Natalie: I actually really like stories of love that doesn’t work out, like a painful, noble thing. I mean I wouldn’t want to only see that. But queer or not, I kind of love unrequited love stories sometimes. And Trent would be so fucking noble about it.
Megan: I agree. It can be done so beautifully, and sometimes it’s just enough to know, and be open, even if you know it’ll never be returned.
Natalie: He’s such a great character. I love that he took Colin to the Homomonument for this chat, after apparently grabbing a six pack. I google mapped it, it’s only a few minutes walk away. And they don’t make a song and dance of the location or talk about like the gay history of Amsterdam or anything, but the fact is, this was apparently the first ever gay Holocaust memorial in the world. There aren’t that many of them. But we have one in Sydney. Amsterdam was the first, though, in the 80s. It’s really famous. So Trent taking him to this meaningful location to talk about the current challenges of being gay is really fucking cool. Of course, it’s a bit lost on Colin, because despite his emotional depths, he is still one of the thickest himbos on the show. At least his confusion about why Anne Frank isn’t a contemporary of the Holocaust memorial is only temporary, like “oh, rigggght. ” But at least he got it after a second. As time goes on, too many young queer people are genuinely oblivious to their own history. And if I talk about that issue, I’ll get angry. But Colin’s on top of it, after a second. I also don’t know if Ted Lasso intended this layer, but Anne Frank was recognisably bisexual and wrote about her attraction to girls and kissing girls. But some editions of the diary have cut those passages out. I’m choosing to believe that Trent was invoking Anne as a fellow queer hero.
Megan: I don’t think we have a gay Holocaust memorial in London, so you’re doing better than us. I feel like both as someone who came out later in life, and a journalist who probably loves to research everything, Trent probably dove head first into his queer history once he did finally come out. So yeah, I love the idea of him knowing meaningful queer locations across Europe, and I also think he’d definitely know about Anne. That being said, unlike Colin, I don’t imagine Trent has gone to many gay bars before. So that’s a bit of queer culture Colin can introduce Trent to. That and vanilla vodka.
Natalie: It’s very funny to me that somehow the bartender has rustled up the desired drink for him in the time they’ve been gone. He must know Colin needed it. I don’t think Trent will ever be a vanilla vodka man and that’s okay. There’s always Jamie.
Megan: The question is, did Colin introduce Jamie to vanilla vodka, did Jamie introduce Colin to it, or did they bond over a shared love?
Natalie: These ARE the questions. Here’s another. There’s a guy in glasses who clocks Colin. Do you think that was just like, oh look, cute guys checking people out? Or do you think he knew him? Could a forced outing story be in the cards still?
Megan: I did think that could be a possibility, but I hope not. The thing with a forced outing is it probably wouldn’t come from the press. Like, the Sun has written articles about a gay Premier League footballer, sharing anecdotes from his ex-boyfriend, but hasn’t named the player, despite knowing who it is.
Natalie: Yeah, they’re uncharacteristically ethical about not outing people. So with Coling, it would have to be an individual posting some proof.
Megan: It’d have to be just from something going viral on social media. I guess maybe if that guy got photos of Colin literally kissing someone in the club he could post it. But other than that, Colin could just say he was taking his good friend Trent Crimm out for moral support.
Natalie: Yeah, to be honest what they saw couldn’t prove anything — again, Roy dancing at G-A-Y.
Natalie: I really don’t want a forced outing story, so I hope that’s not it.
Megan: It could happen, and maybe it’ll be from this random glasses guy. But I hope not. Don’t be a dick, random Dutch gay.
Natalie: The downside of Colin taking his good friend Trent Crimm out for moral support, he’s not there to give moral support to his good friend Isaac McAdoo. The continued argument over where to eat, once they do decide on the party, is just. Look, there are 20 people on the team. Trying to get their shit together is no joke even if they were like, not idiots.
Megan: Yeah, Isaac really should know better.
Natalie: Dani suggested pot brownies, LOL.
Megan: You can’t let them choose, just make a decision and tell them it’s happening.
Natalie: But by the time they are fighting badly, Dani’s rage is a bit scary! Like. We are in Holland, we should try Dutch food! Thought he’d pop a vein on his forehead.
Megan: Richard KILLED me with his response to that.
Natalie: Richard makes being French as a personality trait genuinely amazing. But I was just not prepared for Isaac’s Shakespearean monologue.
Megan: Every watch, I think it gets funnier. I mean Kola should definitely go do Shakespeare after this. That’s one key takeaway.
Natalie: It’s intense! But you’re right, he should not have let them choose. Sometimes voting seems fair, but sometimes it has to be follow the leader.
Megan: He accepted the Captain’s armband, with that comes great responsibility. He should have shouldered that responsibility.
Natalie: But Sam, Team Movie Night, finally comes up with the answer. This is why he’s the vice captain.
Megan: The unnecessary symbolic passing of the napkin was…
Natalie: They’re so silly.
Megan: Look, every group himbo scene this season gets better than the last. This is why we need a spinoff that focuses way more on all of them. Like, if they end up top four this season, and get to Champions League in this fictional season four we could have so many himbo European adventures. Roy and Jamie can go on so many romantic bike rides. Maybe they’ll play PSG in the group stage and Richard can show them around Paris – he would definitely make the decisions for them and force them to follow him.
Natalie: Don’t tease me with things I can’t have.
Megan: I’m sorry.
Natalie: Anyway, as mentioned, the only thing that could have made the pillow fight better is Jamie in a crop top. But I can’t believe Ted missed it!!!
Megan: He’s going to be crushed! First Rebecca ignores him all evening, then he finds out he missed the pillow fight!
Natalie: He’ll be wistful but also maybe proud. Overall, I think Ted’s arc is very strong this episode and it’s in his interest, for his growth, for Rebecca and Beard to have ditched him. Never in a million years would have I predicted Ted to discover his way into truly coaching football in a way he understands thanks to being homesick on shrooms and thinking about basketball. But it’s actually brilliant. The creators themselves got into football in Amsterdam and bonded about it while on shrooms. This is where the DNA for Ted Lasso first actually came from. And it actually makes me genuinely emotional that this was the turning point for Ted the character to truly find the place he’s meant to be. For the record, I wanna say now that I don’t think it was a dud batch. I think it was a batch that wasn’t strong enough to affect Beard and Kenneth, but Ted, a novice, felt it. But I think the Ted Lasso writers are trying to do a cop out and say you know, “it wasn’t the drugs, it was in him all along!” He didn’t need the magic feather to fly, etc. But if that cartoon is just Ted’s brain on barbecue sauce, I have concerns.
Megan: They also do keep him very clean cut, drinking problem aside, so maybe they like having the out. But yes, I think I agree.
Natalie: Look, the clean-cutness is a feature, not a bug, of this plot. I don’t think that’s why they did it, because he does drink it. Like, even if he wasn’t affected, they showed Ted choosing to do the drugs. His relationship with Beard is so fucking fascinating, he’s absolutely aware of Beard’s habits and I wouldn’t say he didn’t care, he just is like, not my business unless it becomes a problem. I feel like he’s privately judging, and Beard knows it, but they just stay in their lanes. And honestly, doing shrooms with Beard safely in a hotel room is a better choice than drinking two bottles of red wine or getting punched in the face. At least Ted is aware he’s stuck in a rut and needs a big change.
Megan: I did judge him ever so slightly for immediately looking up American food when Beard asked him to find somewhere to eat. But I’ll let it slide, because he was very adventurous at Ollie’s father in law’s restaurant in season 1, and he has been very homesick. I was quite proud of him for acknowledging he was struggling and I loved how excited Beard was about getting to do shrooms with him. Maybe he’ll try and persuade Ted to give it another go with a fresh batch back in London.
Natalie: Yeah, it was handled without outright judgement (aside from Higgins drugs are bad… and like.. yes, if it’s heroin) But the behaviour was very in character. Ted looking up the American bar was fascinating to me because in some ways he is actually really not adventurous. It’s very Midwestern of him. But it doesn’t sound like he seeks out American food in London on the regular. I think at this point, he’s just quite homesick and the way his time in the American bar is treated is fascinating. But we’ll get to that. Wanting to yell at his mom… Well, I can’t wait to meet her later this season. But his absolute horror at being made to drink tea. Amazing.
Megan: Sacrilege. They’re really testing me.
Megan: Look. I love Beard, and I’m sure he knows his drugs, and I would trust him in some areas. But in others…he has really bad judgement. I’m not sure we should really be trusting him in this situation.
Natalie: Ted letting Beard leave is… interesting. Reminds me of “Beard After Hours,” how Ted let him leave Wembley even though he knew it was kind of risky. It’s this sort of “I just won’t ask” attitude that I assume has been going on with them for a long time. Beard goes and does Beard things and Ted really, really would rather he didn’t but does not want to know. But I would absolutely trust Beard to help me through this experience if it was safely locked in the hotel room. Wandering off into the night, not so much. And the fact he just vanishes… man, their relationship is so weird. Ted apologising at the end too, for letting him go off alone with a head full of “tea.” Their dynamic is very respectful, and full of trust. I actually loved that line, ” I don’t usually say this because I think it’s implied,” but I also think their balance depends on a certain amount of like, don’t ask, don’t tell, for lack of a better word.
Megan: They are very opposites attract. I think it works very well in their professional relationship because they bring very different things to the team. In their personal life I think Beard is way way better at reaching out to Ted, and saying the things he needs to hear, at the moment he needs to hear it. I do think Ted could do a better job at returning the favour with Beard. Not about the drugs, I’m not a drug person myself, but am very much okay with other people doing them, but when it comes to things like his relationship with Jane, and putting himself in potentially risky situations, I do think Ted could step up a bit.
Natalie: Honestly, you know what struck me? The fact he says, in a way that’s clearly trying not to make a big deal, “You travel with it?” Because they may have flown privately, sure, and shrooms are somewhat legal in Holland, sure, hence him saying he doesn’t want it taxed. But he’s a football coach and he carried drugs that are illegal in England over a border. And I am 100% sure footballers have done worse, but this is something Ted could get professionally mad at, that risk. But he doesn’t. Even though the idea has clearly stressed him out a bit. I personally would have freaked out at that risk.
Megan: Yeah, honestly, that was stupid, Beard. Like, yes, footballers will definitely have done worse, but you EXPECT footballers to be stupid and make terrible decisions. It’s part of the job description. Beard really should have known better, especially when going to a country where you can legally acquire drugs.
Natalie: It’s a good thing Kenneth didn’t come to Amsterdam to be honest. They seem to have a local Dutch driver that came with the coach company to take them to and from the airport. Beard and Kenneth could have gotten in some deep drama.
Megan: It would be awful. One of them would have ended up arrested, the other probably dead. All things considered, it’s best he stayed behind. I do wonder if Ted maybe suspected Beard would ditch him at some point for a wild Dutch adventure. Because he’s texting Rebecca early on in the night asking if she wants to hang out, and it’d be pretty rude to make plans with someone else unless he knew Beard wouldn’t be sticking around.
Natalie: I actually assumed he meant she would join him and Beard! But I think that’s a good point. He could have expected Beard to leave, but my read was that he thought Rebecca would join both of them for dinner or something. And honestly, Rebecca and Beard hanging out is a fascinating idea that I would have liked to see.
Megan: Can you imagine Rebecca’s face if he suggested she join them at the American restaurant? She would not have approved.
Natalie: 2.7 stars!
Megan: Out of 5 though! Oh Ted.
Natalie: After the Uber chat, I found this hilarious. He may be a 5, but he finds value in a 2.7. I’d never go to a 2.7. 3.5 is my lower limit for dining, if actually making an effort. I’m a big Yelper, or Google ratings, whatever it is now.
Megan: It depends on where I am, sometimes needs must, and there are some things where I’m like eh, it’ll be fine. But yeah, 2.7? In somewhere like Amsterdam which has very good food? Criminal.
Natalie: I mean yeah, if it’s just a matter of getting something in passing. But if I’m making an effort to look something up? Nah. But I found his inability to drink the tea extremely relatable. Not about shrooms, but this has been me, with both food I am nervous to eat, and medicine I really don’t want to take. Just like nope, I can’t, I can’t, especially with witnesses. The fact that he only manages it when no one is watching is perfect.
Megan: I was not expecting to see tourist video Keeley with her mad hair making a comeback, but I loved it.
Natalie: That was the best call back! The dubbing! I imagine the Van Gogh museum was one of the things that Dutch Keeley would have recommended, and it’s interesting that this is the first place Ted winds up. Last week, while speculating, we thought he might come here with Rebecca, and talk about his father’s suicide, but there isn’t anything overtly said about that, I think you’re just meant to sort of… know.
Megan: Yeah, if she doesn’t know how his father died, this would have been a very poignant place for us to see him tell her. As it is, I have to assume most people know Van Gogh killed himself, and so it still felt poignant, just as a solo moment for Ted.
Natalie: I’m not 100% sure how I felt about the intense guidance from the museum guide.
Megan: The thing with Van Gogh is his art is so beautiful and affecting that I think this scene would have worked without it, just Ted being affected by it. Because before he starts speaking, while Ted is just looking at it, I found that more impactful than when he started to talk.
Natalie: I loved what he was saying, the Vincent quote he started with was really important. But it all seemed very, very specifically tailored to Ted. I was a bit like, is he a guardian angel?
Megan: He does show up and say exactly what Ted needs to hear, exactly when he needs to hear it. Which feels very guardian angel.
Natalie: I will say, museum guides are often very passionate about the work and have plenty of their own thoughts to share. Perhaps he saw this guy looking really affected and decided he needed to get some connection there.
Megan: Somewhere like this he must see thousands of people walk through every day, and so many it will just be like, whistle stop tour, see the hits, get out of there to go get high. So I can imagine when you do see someone who finds the work as important as you do, you’ll want to share it with them. And fans of Vincent really love him.
Natalie: The quote he starts with is from one of Vincent’s letters to his brother Theo, “One does not expect to get from life what one has already learned it cannot give; rather, one begins to see more clearly that life is a kind of sowing time, and the harvest is not yet here.” This is very much like, maybe, what we do isn’t ever about it coming back to us ourselves. We do things to feed or enrich others, they do things to feed or enrich the next.
Megan: Which is very much Ted’s role in the show.
Natalie: It’s not quite as inspirational as it sounds, it’s still kind of about feeling hopeless, I think. But I think that’s also kind of important to Ted too.
Natalie: Is he doing what he does to feel good about himself, or is he doing what he does at the EXPENSE of feeling good.
Megan: I definitely think it’s the latter a lot of the time with Ted.
Natalie: Yeah, because it’s some higher purpose. But what is being said here, about beauty, inspiration and determination is really getting to Ted, he starts welling up, like crying.
Megan: This scene didn’t hit me as hard as the Doctor Who episode, but I do think part of the reason I love his art is because of what we know about him. So with Who, the emotional payoff of Vincent finally seeing how appreciated his art is is just really overwhelming. But I did love how simple the actual visuals were – just rolling through close ups of his paintings, with the voiceover and then as you say, seeing how affected Ted is.
Natalie: And look. “Never stop. No matter how many failures. When you know you’re doing what you’re meant to do, you have to try.” This is such a convenient way of Ted hearing this. I kind of feel like it should not have taken a stranger, but in some ways, it’s more impactful to just hear this idea as a concept, rather than Henry, Rebecca, Beard, putting that on Ted personally. I don’t dislike this scene at all, but I would like to know more about why they chose to kind of set Ted on the path in this way. Why THIS was the way. Because a random stranger dropping in with the right words could be very convenient, to a point of laziness, yet it doesn’t feel lazy. It feels like they really wanted it to be like this.
Megan: Especially because with both Van Gogh and Ted’s dad shooting themselves, you might expect that to be what the focus of the scene would be, not Ted finally realising he needs to step up and do what needs to be done for the football coaching. I think a lot of people, including me, really thought that’s what this episode would be about for Ted.
Natalie: I absolutely think he’s thinking about his past in this scene though. It just isn’t what is being verbalised. His dad is all over this episode.
Megan: Oh yeah, I agree. And of course Ted does talk about him later, in the restaurant.
Natalie: Sunflowers being the state flower did come up, of course. That’s how he got his new strategy book. And I think everything he experiences in Amsterdam really, really solidifies what I’ve believed to be the aim for him – that he knows that he wants to go back to America, but that he’ll commit properly to coaching and achieving this goal rather than being all torn up about it in the meantime. It made me believe that he’s going to truly and passionately engage with the team, pull off something amazing, and then leave feeling fulfilled.
Megan: That’s my main takeaway too. Yes, home is Kansas for him, that’s where he’ll end up. But for now he owes it to these people to be fully there for them, to not half-ass or coast through the remainder of the season. I would have liked him to have that realisation earlier in the season, but maybe this is the best time for it, when everyone on the team has gone through their own special night in Amsterdam and they all feel in sync again. With Zava there, Ted’s type of coaching wouldn’t have worked. And in the recent aftermath their spirits have been too broken, as Jan says. So maybe this is the perfect time for it, when they’re all finally on the same page, and there’s still half a season – of both football and Ted Lasso – left for them to commit to each other.
Natalie: Yeah, the Amsterdam episode is in some ways a total indulgence for the show. They did not HAVE to go on a trip to do on location filming, they did not HAVE to make it 63 minutes. Honestly, most of what happened also could have happened in central London, including Rebecca falling into a canal. They could have told very similar stories for everyone in London. But they really used the opportunity to make it matter. They took it as a turning point, somewhere totally removed from Ted Lasso’s Richmond setting – even in “Beard After Hours” he ends up at Nelson Road in the morning – and just basically dunked everyone in soapy water and gave them a rinse.
Megan: I love when the setting of a place is as important as the story they’re telling, and when the sense of the place comes through so much it’s almost an extra character in the episode. You’re right, this whole thing could have happened in London, but it didn’t because Jason and Brendan wanted to do a love letter to Amsterdam and show us the city they know and love.
Natalie: Ted has been disengaged for the whole season so far (football and show) and I do think it maybe needed to be this long. And while I don’t think the Zava story is totally over, he served a few purposes – a massive story for Jamie, sure, but he also gave Ted a reason to be able to coast, at least for the first weeks. As in, it gave Richmond the amount of points they needed to maybe be able to climb back up after lots of draws and losses. When they stopped winning, even with Zava, I’m a bit shocked that strategies didn’t change, but we don’t actually know how engaged Ted was on any given day between 3.04 and 3.05. It’s another 7 to 8 weeks we miss.
Megan: I suppose even though they weren’t winning, it would likely be hard to convince Zava to do anything other than a 4-5-1. And obviously it’s their job to tell him to as coaches, but even if Ted hadn’t been avoidant and distant I feel like on the pitch all the players other than Jamie would have pandered to Zava anyway – Roy as much as says that’s what they’re doing.
Natalie: But I mean, the vibe I got was very avoidant and distant. That’s obviously going to change now, and Total Football is the right answer, because he understands it. He can actually coach the sport, not just give pep talks. Never in a million years would have I guessed that this is where it was going, though. Even after all Beard’s Cruyff fun facts at the start. But I loved that this was the night he finally “found” football, in the way all the other characters found a new… love, in whatever way. Connection.
Megan: I think this season will end with Ted properly loving football, even if it still drives him mad. I think it drives every football fan mad at some point or other. And even though I don’t actually think this level of sports coaching is for him, I think once he’s back home any MLS team would be very keen to have him as a manager after three years of experience in the Premier League.
Natalie: I know it was kind of a bit for them, but it’s always struck me as very odd that he never read one soccer book and how long the running joke was that he did not get the sport. Even though he understood his role was not so much tactical as personal. Maybe that’s how it’s always been done with him and Beard, even in American football. But it’s not even his relationship with American football here that saves him, it’s basketball – which again, is really the sport of Jason Sudeikis’s heart.
Megan: In American football he’d obviously know enough of the basics just by osmosis, but Ted does seem to love sports generally, based on all his posters of inspirational athletes. Or maybe he just loves a good sports story, which I can understand.
Natalie: For me, the reason I love the connection of basketball and football is that more so than American football, basketball is the sport most comparable to football in American culture, in my personal and non-American opinion. I’ve always thought it, though.
Megan: Yeah I agree.
Natalie: Because basketball is loose, and it’s a sport kids play when they have JUST a ball. You go to the park with a ball and there is public infrastructure to play a pick up game. That is what football is in England. Any park, someone’s bags or jumpers as goals. You do not need any equipment, just a ball. And it is the sport of the people, the working class, for that reason. American football, you can play at throwing passes I guess, but it’s not really structured like you would just play a park game with proper touchdowns and positions. You can play football with less than 11 per side, you can just make up a loose version.
Megan: Yeah five a side football is a whole thing! Pre pandemic my work had a team that played in an actual London five aside league. But even outside of something formal like that, you can do it so easily anywhere.
Natalie: More than anything, the “pick-up” nature and cheap point of entry make me feel like basketball and football hold the same place in the culture. Well, the same, but different. So I liked basketball being ultimately more important than American football in terms of Ted connecting to the game. Now, this American sports bar… did you get the feeling that Ted didn’t maybe realise how much of a parody it was?
Megan: Yes! I think he genuinely seemed charmed and like, you could almost see him relax a bit when he first walked in. Like it felt familiar and safe. And then the Australian server arrived with his awful American accent and it just went downhill from there.
Natalie: He seemed very at home and was almost treating the novelty elements like he was confused for a moment that someone would think this was a parody. He was so bummed out about the fake American accent, lol.
Megan: I found it so funny though, so much of it was on the nose. Of course all the servers were Australian. Of course they have no clue that the Windy City is actually Chicago.
Natalie: This is not true, for the record. But this was interesting to see from their lens, for me. Because it was applying the same American-centric viewpoint that Americans have about America, to Australians, in terms of not knowing how things happen in another place. And Ted Lasso does this a lot with British people too. Like, it shows English characters not knowing an American thing. And it’s so the opposite of true. The world knows so many things about America that America doesn’t know about the world in return.
Megan: Oh that is so true. It’s giving me a headache thinking of all the like, an American thinking about what a Dutch person would think an American bar would be like, and what an Australian server would know about America and how they would act. It’s a lot.
Natalie: I not only know the Windy City but also would have gotten Ted’s Roxy Hart joke and understood his answer.
Megan: I too understood that reference.
Natalie: But American media is still the biggest presence in the Western world. And if there’s one thing I know about America, it’s that we know how they do things WAY more than they know how we do things.
Megan: I do struggle sometimes because you’re right, they do sometimes have English characters not get an American reference that I did understand, but I’ve obviously spent a lot of time in America – including living in Chicago for a while – so then I wonder if it’s really something all English people would understand, or just me because of time spent there.
Natalie: And there have been moments in Ted Lasso where I’m like… pretty sure Roy. Rebecca, etc would not need that explained. It’s not just you. I am sure there are people who wouldn’t, but the Ted Lasso characters are all people who are rich, wordly, and probably media literate. Roy I can see avoiding it on principle.
Megan: He would refuse to understand outwardly, just to be a dick.
Natalie: But most people watch American movies and TV shows. In Britain there’s more of a chance to not do that, because the British media industry is huge. In Australia, the media industry is tiny. Most of our movies and TV are imported, aside from reality shows. Fictional series, and films, will mainly be American and some British. But the server not knowing what it was and following the letter of the law rather than the spirit, just knowing the words he was saying and no context…That reminded me of American customer service, lol.
Megan: Hah! Yes. Jade would not survive in that bar, that’s for sure.
Natalie: God. Do you think it’s owned by the same Derek? I think yes.
Megan: I think that’s what they want us to think, so I’m going with yes.
Natalie: Despite the disappointment that the staff are not fellow Americans, it does seem to make Ted feel warm and fuzzy in all its 2.7 star glory. He clocks the darts right away, and enjoys the look of the food.
Megan: Yeah, he’s really excited about some beige fried food. No shade, I love beige fried food. It’s just not what I’d choose in Amsterdam.
Natalie: The way he puts his hand on his heart, genuinely like, touched? When a cowgirl does the finger guns at him. Playing along, but his face! That really got me, like how hard this is hitting him, shrooms or no shrooms. I can see Ted really trying to make small talk with someone like Jade in London and probably be seen as that guy who saps the energy of a serving staff that does not have to be extra friendly. But I’m sure he has also won people over.
Megan: Yeah and there will be people like Ollie who genuinely wants to chat. We’re not all standoffish all the time.
Natalie: Yes, and to be clear, lots of people suffer under it. That culture makes plenty of British people feel like shit.
Megan: Yeah. Stiff upper lip and self deprecation aren’t really very healthy.
Natalie: Just like the American level of engagement must exhaust some Americans. But this is more Ted’s style.
Megan: What’s Australia like generally? Are you a happy medium between repressed and over the top?
Natalie: Every time I see a discussion about this online, it seems like Americans think we are super rude. Closer to Britain but not as repressed.
Megan: That sounds healthier.
Natalie: It’s not massively done to talk to strangers in public, the way I’ve felt really horrified by people doing to me in America. But the way we DO engage with people in customer service or otherwise is friendly-blunt. I would say it’s more genuine than America, less reserved than England. Customer service conversations are more natural, like two people talking normally, not like they hate you and want you to get out ASAP (British) or like they are a sycophantic servant (USA.)
Megan: I think that’s about what I’d expect. When the server comes over and Ted’s watching the basketball he just seems so happy and relaxed, even sharing that anecdote about his dad he talks about him so much more easily than I’ve seen before.
Natalie: Her level is just about right for an Aussie.
Megan: “Thank you for sharing” made me laugh.
Natalie: It was a good response!
Natalie: Like, what else do you say?
Megan: I mean there really isn’t anything else you can!
Natalie: The fact that he did share that detail with her, about his father, he goes into a little memory place, and the way he says “I used to love watching games with my dad.” I got the impression there that he’s both thinking about his father, of course, but also thinking about what made their time together special, and how he’s missing that with Henry. “That is a good dad-son thing that I am not doing.” Again, feeling as if he’s being called home.
Megan: I think so yeah. Like, clearly he and his dad used to do a lot of things together, things that meant a lot to Ted, even after his dad died. He wants Henry to have those same moments.
Natalie: Nothing could have prepared me for the barbecue sauce, I screamed. But I think that some people claim that it was the sauce, not the shrooms, that transported him to that odd place. However, something pretty trippy happened even before the sauce.
Megan: That’s the thing that made me scream, but more out of fright. Sorry Nate, nothing personal, it was just such a jumpscare – I was not expecting it! Yeah he was already tripping before the sauce made an appearance – the pyramid realisation, and then Nate.
Natalie: I will continue to maintain that he definitely was affected and the end explainer is just to cover their ass for more puritanical viewers.
Megan: I will back you up on that one.
Natalie: Because Ted Lasso doesn’t really frame things in this surreal way. Unless it’s “Beard After Hours,” and that was not a sober experience. What do you think seeing Nate here meant, though? It was… very disturbing. Just a reminder of the challenge/perceived failure? A reminder of the tactics element of the game being so important?
Megan: The latter is what I thought of. Nate “being there” helps inspire him to think about things through a strategic lens. Nate would obviously be aware of Total Football, as a concept, but I’m not sure if he’d be as keen on it. I feel like he prefers more fixed positions as a manager. I definitely think it was the tea, but the barbecue sauce and its familiarity was the final straw before he fell into a complete trance.
Natalie: Nate has displayed extreme control over the tactics at West Ham and his players execute them personally, but having set structures may really not work against Total Football and I can imagine that the rematch will prove something about those styles.
Megan: Yeah agreed. And Nate definitely won’t be expecting it.
Natalie: With the sauce, they’ve made sure to let us know with visuals how much this brand means to Ted. The restaurant has been the desktop picture on his laptop for ages. We first see him with a bottle of it back in 1.02, when Henry and Michelle send the care package. He tells Rebecca about it. “You got some kind of food or something that can teleport you back home, make you feel warm and fuzzy?” And there’s debate over why he says “barbecue sauce” in the darts game with Rupert, but I think it was to direct his focus back to those times with his dad. Teleporting his focus back home. Maybe the server bringing him this one, out of 50 sauces, on her own, is enough to blow his mind into a hallucination even without drugs. It’s a little strange to me, how much Ted Lasso seems to very slightly believe, internally, in magic. With Tish’s specifics, and then this moment with the sauce which of course does have a statistical chance at happening, but is very surreal.
Megan: I think it’s a show that is about hope and belief and goodness and all of that is quite magical. It’s not the same as thinking magic is actually real, but it definitely wants us to embrace it a bit. Even with like, Sam and his dad and signs from the universe. And believing in ghosts. It’s not ruling anything out.
Natalie: I’m okay with it. But I wasn’t quite ready for the cartoon lesson.
Megan: No, neither.
Natalie: Apparently this is based on some old Disney bit. Which, fine.
Megan: Yes I’ve seen a few people reference it! It is not something I’m familiar with.
Natalie: I’m not sure how I feel about Ted learning football from a hallucination rather than through effort, but maybe he HAS been trying hard and just can’t click. And like Beard says about the shrooms, his mind is coated with fresh snow ready for new neural pathways. He really struggled to read Inverting the Pyramid.
Megan: Yeah I think he has to have an understanding of the sport to be able to apply the hallucinations to it in a way that makes sense. So I think maybe he just needed this method to make it all click together. He’s a visual learner, even if the visions are being created by his own drug-addled brain.
Natalie: Yeah, the fact that the TSA says at the end, “Actually, Ted, you’re right!” kind of helped to point out that this is all Ted digging into his own knowledge and history to see some tactical advantages about sport that he had never thought of for football before. And the cartoon really, really laid it out to the viewer too, how the triangle offence worked and how it could be applied to football. The fact that he spends the rest of the night Beautiful Minding it up in his new sunflower book with the sauce bottles is perfect. But then, the next morning, he thinks maybe none of it makes sense, because he thought he was on shrooms. He was, but once he hears maybe he wasn’t… he wants to know if Beard thinks maybe this idea is valid.
Megan: Poor Ted, he seems a little put out when Beard tells him it already exists, and then very pleased when Beard says he thinks they should try it. But you know, he DID come up with it all by himself. He gets points for that, even if he wasn’t the original inventor.
Natalie: I am fascinated by how Beard processes that Ted came up with himself. Beard is proud, but maybe a little frustrated Ted didn’t already know. I wonder if Beard has tried to mention it before and Ted tuned it out.
Megan: Honestly that’s very possible.
Natalie: And equally, I think Ted is put out by hearing it existed already but proud to have come to a known tactic on his own. And that is really, really important – that he truly gets the ins and outs of what they’re going to do next. Side note: I now understand why the trailer featured footage of Isaac scoring training goals and being cheered. Total Football requires all players to be able to play in all roles, aside from the goalie. If Isaac is best placed to score, he’s going to have to score. It’s a tactic that requires smart players with versatile skills. Not all footballers are smart or versatile.
Megan: Yeah, and that’s okay with some formations and some clubs, but if this is going to work for Richmond, they’re all going to have to step up. I really hope next episode we get some good training scenes.
Natalie: They need high levels of “football intelligence,” and very good communication. Like Ted says, they have to be a lot more aware of every single thing happening on the pitch and stay moving. It’s actually a bit odd to me that it’s never been mentioned on the show before, because City effectively play Total Football. They have included elements of it for a long time, because Pep is Cruyff’s protege. But I guess it wasn’t always fully integrated. It’s been said for years, but it has gone up several notches during the current 22/23 season, which the show isn’t covering.
Megan: I suppose if they planned this moment right from the beginning they couldn’t bring it up, because they couldn’t steal Ted’s thunder. And they just trusted that the majority American audience wouldn’t realise.
Natalie: Yeah, I think that’s right, but I will be interested to see how they play against Man City, given their canonical inclusion of the Cruyff Pep pipeline. “Okay, Englishman.” It’s certainly not a tactic being commonly used to the full positionless extent it once was.
Megan: Jan will come for Ted if he doesn’t give the Dutch proper credit for the tactic.
Natalie: I wonder how the boys will react to this news. Will they be excited? Scared?
Megan: Maybe they’ll draw against City, which would feel like a win for them. Or maybe City will be so confused to see Richmond playing like this that they’ll be distracted, expecting an easy ride. I bet Jamie will be excited, not least because I think it’ll give him a chance to showcase more of his training from Roy.
Natalie: A draw at the Etihad would feel like a win, but I think they might actually win.
Megan: I do think that too.
Natalie: I’m not sure about Jamie. I hope he’s excited, but I also think he’s ready to be the star, the franchise player, in a good way, and this may make him feel less important. But I think he’ll be the best at it. And the more positional flexibility he has, the more likely he will get called up for England. I would like him to be maybe a little put out, then Roy explain why it’s good actually. Or maybe ROY will be against it, because his 4-4-2 was based in so much rigidity, and I did think it had a chance to work due to Leicester.
Megan: I thought the same about 4-4-2, because his tactics and thinking there were sound! I do think even at say City, who are such a collaborative team, and are playing this type of football, you do still have the standout star players, like Haaland and Kevin DeBruyne, players that even fans of their fiercest rivals will talk about with grudging respect or admiration. So I think there is room for Jamie to still be a standout with this style.
Natalie: I can’t believe that triangles are the key to solving all of Richmond’s problems. Like… relationship problems?
Megan: Maybe Ted can inspire Roy to reach a similar conclusion.
Natalie: There’s so many little details in this episode that I noticed but am happy to admit I do not understand yet what they may relate to. The TSA saying “Bingo, Ringo,” which Ted has never actually said – Beard and Jamie have. The people behind Ted in the museum, the man in the blue hat having a life cycle. “Try Angels” in the book.
Megan: I think it’s one of those episodes that I’m going to want to rewatch so many times, and will likely notice something new every time. There’s just so much going on in it.
Natalie: The bruises on Roy’s face when they come back to the bus, from falling sideways.
Megan: I did not spot the bruises! See that’s something else to pick up on.
Natalie: Rebecca no longer wearing her chain link earrings. Everyone got back on that bus a very different person. Beard’s mostly the same. Piggy Stardust sounds pretty standard.
Megan: Yeah I mean, nothing about him surprised me in this final scene. Not even the fact that he can speak Dutch.
Natalie: No, it was perfect. Exactly right. And Rebecca shifting from hating “Three Little Birds” to taking it as some sort of new mantra.
Megan: Sidenote: that song has been stuck in my head basically continuously from my first watch. Next episode needs to have a similar earworm to get rid of this one.
Natalie: It feels like all the important characters put aside a lot of baggage and are just ready to be a lot freer with their feelings, and you see it in the song. I mean Ted absolutely does not know what to make of Rebecca being like this, but the way they all sing together seems to make Ted very happy, and we see like, Colin reaching out to squeeze Trent’s arm, Jamie entirely focused on trying to make Roy smile. What I feel like is that none of the people who turned a corner in Amsterdam will be taking steps backwards, and they’re going to be more ready to be open about the corner they’ve turned. Roy, who is so prone to embarrassment and being seen in certain ways, was willing to show up on the back of Jamie’s bike, holding on to him, and pretty much laughing it off, not telling Jamie to shut up about being excited. They could have very much left the bike around the corner and walked over. Roy – the old Roy – very much could have told Jamie, now don’t you fucking dare tell anyone what happened or expect things to change. Everyone is just…. letting change happen, and being open about it.
Megan: I think anyone going backwards from this point would be doing a disservice to this episode. The only way is forwards from here.
Natalie: Well, they better. Moving forwards sounds good to me, there’s not enough time for a lot more major setbacks. There are a few things that could still pop up – I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Zava, I’m actually thinking he might come out of retirement and reactivate his contract with RICHMOND, rather than another team, which is when Roy might stand up for Jamie and the show might choose to truly showcase Jamie as better than Zava, but honestly, they need to win as many games as possible now if they are going to have a chance of a title. So for the team, at least… forward motion only. The next episode has confusingly had a title change since it was released. The working title was “Ola’s.” The title previewed on Apple was “Boxes.” The final title, updated by Apple, is “The Strings That Bind Us.” And it says “The Greyhounds try a new strategy that has everyone thinking outside the box. Sam prepares to welcome a VIP guest at the Ola’s.” So given all these titles and that description, any ideas about the themes or plot?
Megan: Well the new strategy is obviously Total Football. Given the original title, I think the VIP guest is going to be Ola himself, and we’re going to meet Sam’s dad.
Natalie: I’m inclined to agree, but I’m wondering how Rebecca plays into it. Maybe he and his dad will catch up about Sam’s life and those sort of private things he hasn’t shared so far. I’d still really like Sam and Rebecca to have a conversation.
Megan: Same, however that might play out. Given their relationship was left a bit open, if Sam is dating his chef he’s the kind of person who might feel he owes Rebecca a conversation about that. I also think we should have Ola and Ted meet, given we know Ola likes Ted!
Natalie: Yeah, I would like that. Boxes feels very metaphorical, like people being put in boxes, thinking outside the box. But maybe also literal. Biscuit boxes, maybe someone’s memory box, maybe something about moving, packing. Ola bringing Sam a box of his things. Much like “Signs” was literal and metaphorical.
Megan: That makes sense, yeah. “The Strings that Bind Us,” Well again with Sam and Rebecca maybe it’s a cutting of the final strings of their relationship? So they can both move on? Now I’ve made myself sad.
Natalie: I think that there might be some Ted and Rebecca stuff, due to how utterly disconnected they’ve been. Whatever direction it’s going, it feels like those characters need some time together. They have strings binding them that neither are even aware of, like the anniversary of their trauma. You can assume it’s all about the connections people have and people being conscious of those connections. This could even possibly be the episode that Ted’s mother comes into the story. I have a feeling this title might be a quote from Sam’s dad though.
Megan: From the things we’ve heard him say in the past, it does sound like it could be an Ola-ism. If that’s the theme of the next episode I’m excited. This one was all about forging new connections – so hopefully that next one will see those new connections grow even stronger.
Natalie: The image used on the Apple preview shows us that this is the episode that seems to include an “open training.” That is, the training ground seats filled with a ton of observers. In the trailer, that’s the joke moment where Roy says good job, Ted highlights that compliment, and Beard fake faints.
Megan: I cannot wait to see that in full.
Natalie: I got the feeling that this wasn’t actually directed at the players. Unless all the people in the stands are press, watching this new tactic, I think this is like an open day. I think it’s kids. Clubs sometimes run development days or community days or family days which are on the surface all in fun but are sometimes about subtly looking for talent in kids a fair bit younger than the official academy age. So if this is the boys playing with children…Get ready, world. Any other theories about why there’s such an audience?
Megan: I think an open day is the most likely. If Ola IS coming for a visit, I wonder if it is a family day, like you mention, and we’ll see a few other parents. Some of the other London based lads potentially, maybe Phoebe as well. Maybe we’ll even meet Roy’s sister? I would love to see more of the players interacting with kids though in a training session, so that would be great.
Natalie: I just have a gut feeling that from Roy’s great job, and the crowd, this is kids. I mean, nice work if he’s being that effusive to the players. But he actually is very supportive of them when we see him running training. This feels more like they’re playing up the Roy Kent personality.
Megan: Maybe he’s praising Jamie publicly. I’d enjoy that being a new trend in their relationship.
Natalie: I’m not going to pretend that seeing where Roy and Jamie go from here is not my number one priority. But I’m really keen to get back to Sam as a POV character, I think he’s been underused and I suspect that this episode we might see why that is, kind of a big catch up on his story so far and we might learn WHY we haven’t checked in with him, learn things that if we’d known earlier, would have ruined the suspense for other moments or something like that.
Megan: Plus I think his plot will likely take place away from Richmond. In the first half of the season we had a lot of outside Richmond scenes taking place with Keeley at KJPR. They might not have wanted too many plotlines away from the club at once, and now things have settled down a bit for Keeley work wise, I could see us pivoting to Ola’s.
Natalie: Well, I’m very keen to get back to London and the “real world,” even if Amsterdam was a wonderful, refreshing change. And very keen for more proper training scenes!